What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease involves the inflammation of the hard and soft tissues around our teeth. It all starts with plaque.
In a nutshell, plaque is a buildup of bacteria which release byproducts and toxins that cause inflammation of our tissues. As a result of this inflammation, our gums become red, swollen, and bleed easily. Our gums and bone then begin to recede away. When this happens the space between our teeth and gums get deeper and we become unable to clean our teeth in these deep areas. As plaque hardens into calculus (from the various minerals in our food, water, and saliva) this creates further problems because we cannot brush or floss away calculus. It must be mechanically removed by a dentist or hygienist with ultrasonic and metal instruments.
As calculus builds up this creates more sites on our tooth for bacteria to attach to. This leads to more bacteria, more tissue loss, and deeper areas we can't clean. Eventually, teeth may be lost.
How do we treat periodontal disease?
We must clean out all the calculus and bacteria off the teeth, from the very top of the tooth to the bottom of the deepest areas under our gums. Sometimes we must smooth out the tooth root, or even remove portions of the tooth root that have been infected with bacterial toxins. This may sound like an uncomfortable procedure but your dentist or hygienist will make sure the patient is comfortable (typically with the use of anesthetic) prior to beginning any treatment.