Periodontitis is an infectious disease that affects the teeth and their supporting tissues. Periodontal diseases are the most common diseases that affect humans. It is caused by a complex bacterial invasion of gingival tissues, resulting in loss of bone around teeth, gingival recession, and eventual tooth loss. Periodontitis accounts for 70% of tooth loss in adults. Clinical presentations include gum recession, deep pockets, and bone loss on radiographs.
A pocket refers to a gap between the gums and teeth. This gap is the result of periodontitis, and acts as a safe place for bacteria since it is impossible to clean with conventional cleaning methods. The pocket is often ulcerated on the tooth side, this results in bleeding gums, and acts as a path for the bacteria to invade the tissues.
Unfortunately, periodontitis is usually painless causing a delay in seeking help. Bleeding gums and gum recession are usually the earliest signs noticed by patients. Loose teeth are clinical signs of advanced periodontitis.
Luckely, general dentists, as well as other specialists, are well trained in identifiying periodontitis. Your dentist will evaluate your periodontal condition and refer you to a specialist if further treatment is indicated.
The American Academy of Periodontists offers an online risk assessment tool.
Research shows that people who develop periodontal disease and don’t receive treatment are at far greater risk of loosing their teeth than people who do receive treatment.
Not only does periodontitis affect oral health, but there is also undisputed evidence that periodontal disease is a risk indicator of cardiovascular disease. People who have periodontitis are more likely to suffer from stokes and other cardiovacular diseases. The mechanism of this relationship is complex and not quite understood yet. Some of the theories describe a heightened inflammatory condition in the whole body due to bacterial insults in the periodontal tissues.
Over the last century, dentists and periodontists have developed multiple treatment modalities to treat and control periodontitis. Non-surgical therapy consists of scaling and root planing (deep cleaning). This removes most of the local factors that cause the disease, including bacterial plaque and plaque infected calculus.
Surgical therapy, however, remains the treatment of choice for advanced periodontitis. Different surgical techniques are applied by the periodontist. The aim for surgical intervention is to either restablish lost tissues (Regenerative periodontal treatment), or to stabilize the dental condition (Resective periodontal treatment) allowing for proper hygiene and maintaining teeth. Ask your dentist or Dr. Sweidan about which treatment is best for you.
Surgical Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure, known as LANAP, is a state of the art technology that allows us to replace the conventional blades and sutures to disinfect the mouth and treat periodontal disease. Dr. Sweidan is highly qualified and has advanced training in multiple lasers, including Nd-YAG and Er-YSGG lasers. Treatment options will be discussed in details after clinical and radiographic exams, diagnosis, and prognosis have been established.