Periodontics in North Central San Antonio

The word periodontal means “around the tooth.” Periodontal disease attacks the gums and the bone that supports the teeth. When plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone. Periodontal disease is characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums.

Many people are unaware they have the disease, as it is usually painless in the early stages.

Not only is it the number one reason for tooth loss, but research suggests a link between periodontal disease and other diseases, such as stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and increased risk during pregnancy.

Researchers are determining if inflammation and bacteria associated with periodontal disease affects these systemic diseases and conditions. Smoking also increases the risk of periodontal disease.

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What Is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?

Periodontal disease (also known as periodontitis and gum disease) is a common inflammatory condition that affects the supporting and surrounding soft tissues of the tooth and eventually, the jawbone itself in the disease’s most advanced stages. It’s most often preceded by gingivitis, a bacterial infection of the gum tissue.

Once this bacterial infection sits in the gum pockets between the teeth, it becomes much more difficult to remove and treat. Periodontal disease is a progressive condition that eventually leads to the destruction of the connective tissue and jawbone. When left untreated, it can cause shifting teeth, loose teeth, and eventually tooth loss.

What Are Some Signs and Symptoms?

Patients with any of these indications should be checked for periodontal disease as soon as possible

  • Bleeding gums —gums should never bleed, even when you brush vigorously or use dental floss
  • Loose teeth —may be caused by bone loss or weakened periodontal fibers (fibers that support the tooth to the bone)
  • New spacing between teeth — usually results from bone loss
  • Persistent bad breath — caused by bacteria buildup in the mouth
  • Pus around the teeth and gums — infection may be present
  • Receding gums — evidence of gum loss around a tooth
  • Red and puffy gums — red or swollen gums are signs of inflammation
  • Tenderness or discomfort — plaque, calculus, and bacteria buildup irritate the gums and teeth
Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce the risk of developing periodontal disease.
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Caring for Periodontal Disease

There are many surgical and nonsurgical treatments the periodontist may choose to perform, depending upon the exact condition of the teeth, gums and jawbone. A complete periodontal exam of the mouth will be done before any treatment is performed or recommended. Some of the more common procedures for periodontal disease include:

  • Scaling and root planing — to preserve the health of the gum tissue, the bacteria and calculus which caused the initial infection must be removed. The gum pockets will be cleaned and treated with antibiotics, as necessary, to help alleviate the infection. A prescription mouthwash may be incorporated into daily cleaning routines.
  • Tissue regeneration — when bone and gum tissues have been destroyed, regrowth can be actively encouraged using grafting procedures. A membrane may be inserted into the affected areas to assist in the regeneration process.
  • Pocket elimination surgery—this procedure, also known as flap surgery, is a surgical remedy to reduce the pocket size between the teeth and gums. Surgery on the jawbone is another option available to eliminate indentations in the bone, which foster bacterial growth.
  • Dental implants — when teeth have been lost due to periodontal disease, implanting prosthetic teeth may improve the aesthetics and restore functionality of the mouth. Tissue regeneration procedures may be required prior to the placement of a dental implant in order to strengthen the bone.

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Please contact our office if you have questions or concerns about periodontal disease, periodontal care, or dental implants.
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Periodontics in North Central San Antonio, TX

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