Periodontal infection (we’re going to call it gum disease from here on out) is caused by bacteria that are always present in our mouths. Some of us are more susceptible to this infection than others, depending on how well body (our immune system) fights infection. Our ability to fight this infection can vary from day to day, week to week depending on what else is going on with our life and overall health.
We know that when gums are gently touched and we see blood, there is clear evidence of infection being present. This means that the bacteria and the toxins they produce have overwhelmed the immune system. The lining of the gum tissue (skin) next to the tooth becomes cracked and ulcerated and bleeds when touched. In early stages of gum disease, the gums become red and swollen, and bleed easily (Gingivitis). The toxins actually become embedded in the root surface of the tooth. If the infection continues uncontrolled, it will eventually result in the destruction of the bone that supports your teeth and your facial structure (Periodontitis). This bone loss is permanent and will result in loss of teeth since there will be nothing left to support them.
Gum Disease – Early Detection
Fortunately, gum disease can now be detected and treated early! Each time you see your hygienist, they should do a periodontal screening to detect early signs of this infection. This infection can be controlled non-surgically, but if the infection has progressed beyond moderate gum disease, surgical intervention may be necessary to control it.
We are excited about our ability to detect this infection early and be able to offer you non-surgical therapy. Periodontal therapy will include a series of appointments to detoxify the root surface. We use the latest instruments, including ultrasonics to reduce the toxins and bacteria levels to a point where the immune system can control the infection. Your active participation with removal of bacteria at home every day is critical to the control of your infection. We will assist you with specific instructions on effective bacterial (plaque) removal and we consider a Sonicare toothbrush to be essential in treating and preventing gum disease.
Control Gum Disease
Periodontal infection is not curable but it is controllable. Following your active therapy, we will recommend supportive maintenance to help you keep your infection under control and thus prevent further bone destruction. We now know that the bacteria that cause periodontal infection can become disease producing in 45-90 days. Therefore, your interval for supportive periodontal therapy will be 3 months or less.
Call Dr. Levy’s office today to fin out how we can help with gum disease.