Also known as Periodontal disease, is one of the most under diagnosed areas in dentistry. Gum disease typically affect the teeth’s supporting structures (bone and the covering gum tissue). It has multiple causes (poor oral hygiene, genetics, poorly controlled systemic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure).
Periodontal disease is a progressive condition that if left untreated can lead to tooth/teeth loss. Diagnosis is done through both clinical evaluation of the gum tissue (checking for evidence of bone loss) as well as examination of patients current X-rays. Once a diagnosis is made, a treatment plan is made based on the severity of the condition. Most cases with mild to moderate progression (bone loss, gum inflammation and bleeding) the initial treatment is a procedure called scaling and root planing (deep cleaning).
Deep cleaning usually requires administration of local anesthesia, plaque and tartar build up is then carefully and thoroughly removed from both above and below gum line to promote healing of the area, decrease gum inflammation and stop the progression of bone loss.
If the condition is severe, other modalities of treatment may be indicated (such as periodontal surgery or orally administered antibiotics). With all conditions, frequent recall appointments (every 3-4 months) is paramount to maintain health of the gum tissue and prevent the disease from progressing.