What is gum disease? (Diagnosis and Disease Classification) Gingivitis, also known as gum disease, is the inflammation of the gums and is often the first stage of periodontal disease. Untreated gingivitis can progress to early, moderate, or severe periodontal disease, in which the gums, bones, and connective tissues that support your teeth are permanently destroyed.

To determine if you have gingivitis or a more advanced form of periodontal disease, our Walnut Creek CA dentists will examine your mouth and look for symptoms such as bleeding, inflammation, and bone loss. Because gingivitis can advance to periodontal disease, we may take x-rays to check the level of the bone around each tooth.

Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease that has been linked to cardiovascular disease and increases your risk for other serious health complications:

  • Diabetics- Patients with diabetes are two times more likely to develop periodontal disease. Uncontrolled periodontal disease can also make it more difficult to control diabetes.
  • Cardiac patients- Studies have indicated that patients with chronic periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from heart disease and strokes.
  • Pregnant women- Clinical studies have suggested that women with periodontal disease are more likely to have babies that are born too soon and/or too small.
  • Bisphosphonates- Research has shown in increase in the deterioration of the jaw bone in women who take these medications to fight osteoporosis.
  • Smokers- Smoking has been found to be one of the most significant risk factors to the development of periodontal disease.

What is a regular cleaning? The gentle removal of plaque, tarter, and stain above the gumline for patients who have been found to be free of periodontal disease

What is scaling and root planing (SRP)? The removal of plaque and tarter buildup from the pockets below the gumline and smoothing of the root surfaces of the teeth (sometimes referred to as a deep cleaning).

Why do I need periodontal maintenance (PMT)? Patients who have been diagnosed and treated for periodontal disease will require more frequent (every 3-4 months) dental visits in order to manage and monitor the effects of periodontal disease.

What is laser curettage and decontamination? Laser dentistry is especially effective for removing diseased and damaged tissues that have been destroyed by gum disease. By removing the diseased tissues and reducing the harmful levels of bacteria that reside in the pockets under the gums, we can promote more favorable healing. Laser dentistry also sterilizes the area that is being treated and significantly reduces postoperative discomfort.

The antibiotic Arestin and gum disease. After scaling and root planing, the antibiotic Arestin can be placed in the pockets under the gums to continuously for up to 3 weeks kill the bacteria that cause gum disease. Arestin can be applied immediately after scaling and root planing has been completed, at a follow-up visit, or during your periodontal maintenance visits, as needed.

When you take care of your gum health, you are also protecting your overall health. For the highest standard in periodontal therapy, contact our dental office in Walnut Creek CA today.