Periodontitis, also known as gum disease, is severe gum inflammation and deterioration caused by bacteria that cling to plaque and tartar on the surface of your teeth. Symptoms include redness, bleeding, sensitivity, swelling, and in extreme cases, bone erosion that can result in tooth loss. The most common cause of periodontitis is poor oral hygiene, but smoking, diabetes, genetics, and hormones can also contribute to the condition. Fortunately, periodontal gum therapy can help treat gum disease and prevent it from developing into a severe health issue.
There are four stages of gum disease: gingivitis, mild periodontitis, moderate periodontitis, and severe periodontitis. Stage one, gingivitis, is reversible if caught early and addressed with proper treatments like brushing, flossing, and regular visits to the dentist for cleanings. If gingivitis is left untreated, it develops into periodontitis which cannot be treated at home and will require periodontal gum therapy.
There are several kinds of periodontal gum therapy, including both surgical and nonsurgical. One of the most common nonsurgical methods, called deep cleaning or scaling and root planing, involves removing plaque and tartar that regular brushing and flossing cannot handle from the surface of your teeth and under your gums. Scaling is the removal of tartar from the visible surface of your teeth, and root planing is the removal of tartar from the roots of your teeth located below your gumline. Your dentist will typically apply a local anesthetic to numb the area and may spread the process over several visits to avoid causing significant discomfort. It’s also common for them to prescribe an antibiotic before the treatment to help reduce inflammation and infection.
Gum disease is a serious condition that should not be left untreated. Periodontal gum therapy can help ensure that your teeth remain as healthy as possible and that your oral health does not negatively impact the rest of your body.