Periodontal disease (also known as periodontitis and gum disease) is a progressive disease which affects the supporting and surrounding tissue of the gums, and also the underlying jawbone. If left untreated, periodontal disease can result in loose, unstable teeth, and even tooth loss. Periodontal disease is in fact the leading cause of tooth loss in adults in the United States of America and should not be taken lightly.
Periodontal disease begins when the toxins found in Bacterial Plaque start to attack the soft or gingival tissue surrounding the teeth. This bacterium embeds itself in the gum and rapidly breeds, causing a bacterial infection. As the infection progresses, it starts to burrow deeper into the tissue causing inflammation or irritation between the teeth and gums. The response of the body is to destroy the infected tissue, which is why the gums appear to recede. The resulting pockets between the teeth deepen and, if no treatment is sought, the tissue which makes up the jawbone also recedes causing unstable teeth and tooth loss.
Types of Periodontal Disease
There are many different varieties of periodontal disease, and many ways in which these variations manifest themselves. All require immediate treatment by a periodontist to halt the progression and save the gum tissue and bone. Here are some of the most common types of periodontal disease along with the treatments typically performed to correct them:
Gingivitis is the mildest and most common form of periodontitis. It is caused by the toxins in Bacterial Plaque and leads to periodontal disease. People at increased risk of developing gingivitis include pregnant women, women taking birth control pills, people with uncontrolled diabetes, steroid users and people who control seizures and blood pressure using medication.
Treatment: Gingivitis is easily reversible by removing the causative factor of Bacterial Plaque and professional cleaning. Your dentist may perform root planing and deep scaling procedures to cleanse the pockets of debris. They may feel the case is advanced and refer you to Drs. Dennis Nishimine, Dee Nishimine & Sophia Tseng. As periodontist have 3 years of advanced training to treat periodontal disease this would be in your best interest.
Chronic Periodontal Disease
Chronic periodontal disease is the most common form of the disease, and occurs much more frequently in people over 35. Chronic periodontal disease is characterized by inflammation below the gum line and the progressive destruction of the gingival and bone tissue. It may appear that the teeth are gradually growing in length, but in actuality the gums are gradually receding. Lack of therapy will cause loss of teeth prematurely.
Treatment: Unfortunately unlike gingivitis, chronic periodontal disease cannot be completely cured. We would like to halt the progression of periodontal disease using scaling and root planing (SRP's)procedures, brushing and flossing (OHI) and may utilize antimicrobial. If necessary, Drs. Dennis Nishimine, Dee Nishimine & Sophia Tseng can perform surgical treatments such as pocket reduction surgery and also tissue grafts to strengthen the bone and improve the aesthetic appearance of the oral cavity.
Aggressive Periodontal Disease
Aggressive periodontal disease is characterized by the rapid loss of gum attachment, the rapid loss of bone tissue and familial aggregation. The disease itself is essentially the same as chronic periodontitis but the progression is much faster. Smokers and those with a family history of this disease are at an increased risk of developing aggressive periodontitis.
Treatment: The treatments for aggressive periodontal disease are the same as those for chronic periodontal disease, but aggressive periodontal disease sufferers would greatly benefit from surgical intervention. This form of the disease is harder to halt and treat, but Drs. Dennis Nishimine, Dee Nishimine & Sophia Tseng will perform scaling, root planing, antimicrobial, and corrective procedures in an attempt to save valuable tissue and bone.
Periodontal Disease Relating to Systemic Conditions
Periodontal disease can be a symptom of a disease or condition affecting the rest of the body. Depending on the underlying condition, the disease can behave like aggressive periodontal disease, working quickly to destroy tissue. Heart disease, diabetes and respiratory disease are the most common cofactors, though there are many others. Even in cases where little Bacterial Plaque coats the teeth, many medical conditions intensify and accelerate the progression of periodontal disease.
Treatment: Initially, the medical condition which caused the onset of periodontal disease must be controlled. Drs. Dennis Nishimine, Dee Nishimine & Sophia Tseng will halt the progression of the disease using the same treatments used for controlling aggressive and chronic periodontal disease. They will be in contact with your medical doctors for consulatation and work very carefully with them.
Necrotizing Periodontal Disease
This form of the disease rapidly worsens and is more prevalent among people who suffer from HIV, immunosuppression, malnutrition, chronic stress or choose to smoke. Tissue death (necrosis) frequently affects the periodontal ligament, gingival tissues and alveolar bone.
Treatment: Necrotizing periodontal disease is rare but affects many patients. Because it may be associated with HIV or other serious medical conditions, it is likely that Drs. Dennis Nishimine, Dee Nishimine & Sophia Tseng will consult with your physician before commencing treatment. Scaling, root planing, antibiotic pills, medicated mouth wash and fungicidal medicines are generally used to treat this form of the disease. Corrective procedures will also be utilized for your benefit.
If you have any question or concerns about the different types of periodontal disease and treatments, please ask out Periodontal Team.