Half of the American population suffers from periodontitis, also known as gum disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Periodontitis is a bacterial infection causing inflammation of the gingiva (gums) and deterioration of the bone that supports the teeth in their sockets. Plaque is the film of bacteria that develops on teeth daily, which if not removed effectively daily can lead to the development of periodontitis over time. Gingivitis is the early stage of periodontitis where only the gingiva (gums) and infected and inflamed. Periodontitis/ Gingivitis is diagnosed by the dentist measuring the depth between the visible edge of the gums and the base of the pocket/ crest of the bone below. Normal measurements are 1-3mm; presence of disease may be noted when the pocket depths are 4mm and deeper. Gingivitis if left untreated will progress to periodontitis, where the gum’s inner layer and bone pull away from the teeth. This creates pockets where even more bacteria and debris can accumulate, making it difficult for the individual to clean these hard-to-reach places on his/ her own. As periodontitis progresses the pockets get deeper, the bone support around the teeth shrinks away. Unfortunately, bone lost to periodontal disease never grows back. Periodontitis, left untreated, leads to tooth loss.
In a person suffering from periodontitis, bacteria from the plaque biofilm can get into the bloodstream and contribute to the development of blockages of the blood vessels throughout the body. People with periodontitis are at higher risk for events like stroke and heart attack, and developing cardiovascular disease.
For patients with diabetes, active periodontitis can make diabetes disease worse throughout the body, and vice versa, diabetes can make periodontitis more aggressive in periodontal bone destruction.
In more recent studies, periodontitis has been linked with the onset and development of Alzheimer’s disease, and depression.
The evidence is mounting that care for the mouth is the gateway for care of the body.
How Can Periodontitis Be Treated?
Stubbs Family Dentistry is a leader in the community for conservative therapies for periodontal disease. These therapies include:
- Scaling and Root Planing: This is also known as a deep cleaning. It is non-surgical, and we gently and thoroughly remove the tartar/ calculus (mineralized plaque) and soft plaque from above and below the gum line using traditional scaling instruments, an ultrasonic water cleaner, and a diode laser. The use of lasers means greater efficacy when destroying harmful bacteria. Laser treatment also facilitates faster healing.
- 3-4 month Regular Periodontal Maintenance: Once a diagnosis of periodontitis is made, the patient is recommended to come for dental cleanings every 3-4 months to more regularly remove bacterial build-up, and prevent relapse/ recurrence of periodontal disease.
- Laser Assisted Periodontal Therapy: The laser is used routinely with scaling and root planing, as well as with periodontal maintenance, to target tissues precisely in deeper, bacteria-infected pockets.
- Antibiotic Gel-Powder: In deeper pockets, we can locally place an antibiotic gel-powder, which can stay in the periodontal pocket for up to 10 days after treatment. This allows for maximum elimination of bacteria in hard-to-access pockets, helping to ensure success of the scaling and root planing and periodontal maintenance.
- Conservative Gingival Flap Surgery: Traditional periodontal surgery often comes with the negative consequences of gingival recession and dental hypersensitivity (tooth sensitivity due to exposed roots). In our novel technique, we can combine all the above therapies for treatment of periodontal disease at more advanced stages, with minimal post-operative soreness and downtime, and minimal post-op gum recession and dental sensitivity! Modern bone and tissue grafting products developed in Israel can be incorporated into a patient’s conservative gingival flap surgery in an effort to rebuild tissue lost to periodontal disease.
Schedule a Consultation About Periodontal Care
Deleted: If you’re experiencing gum disease, we can help with our periodontal care treatments. To schedule a consultation, fill out our online form, or call our office in West Allis, WI, at 414-541-8250. We proudly serve the residents of West Allis, Brookfield, Wauwatosa, and all Western Milwaukee communities.