Periodontal disease (also known as gum disease) is an infection and inflammation of the tissues that hold your teeth in place, and is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults worldwide. It is typically caused by poor brushing and flossing habits that allow plaque- a sticky film of bacteria and food debris- to build up on the teeth and harden into tartar (also known as calculus). The progressive accumulation of tartar irritates and damages the supporting structures of your teeth.
Bad breath and red, tender or bleeding gums are signs of gingivitis- the earliest and only reversible stage of periodontal disease. A professional cleaning involves the thorough removal of these hard and soft deposits from tooth surfaces at the gumline, thereby eliminating the source of the infection and inflammation. With regular cleanings and improved homecare, many patients can be kept stable at this level- and enjoy their natural teeth for a lifetime!
Without treatment, the more advanced stages of periodontal disease develop. This involves the progressive and permanent loss of the bone and ligaments that support your teeth, leading to loosening and eventual loss. But even advanced cases of periodontal disease don’t have to progress to this point- Scaling and Root Planing, also known as Deep Cleaning, entails the usage of specialized instruments to remove deep-seated tartar deposits from the outer surfaces of roots deep below the gumline. With regular maintenance and improved homecare, most cases of moderate to advanced gum disease can be controlled and stabilized. A small percentage of advanced cases that cannot be stabilized will need to be referred to a Periodontist for specialized surgical treatment.
Under the supervision of a dentist, Registered Dental Hygienists have the training and specialized skills to provide a full range of periodontal care.