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Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease that can become progressively worse and eventually destroy the gums and other structures that support the teeth. This disease is dangerous to your oral health because it is a painless infection that stealthily attacks — like a silent saboteur — unless you seek proper treatment. A periodontist specializes in the successful treatment of periodontal disease.

The American Academy of Periodontology recommends that treatments for restoring periodontal heath should be as minimally invasive as possible. We absolutely agree.

Nonsurgical Periodontal Treatment
The least invasive approach is nonsurgical periodontal treatment. Conventional periodontal therapy is a two-part process called scaling and root planing, also commonly known as “deep cleaning.”

Tartar or calculus is plaque that has hardened over time. Scaling is the process of carefully removing tartar from above and below the gum line. Root planing is a procedure in which the rough areas on a tooth are made smooth again. These rough spots are problematic, because bacteria tend to accumulate in those areas, contributing to the disease.

Another treatment for periodontal disease is called root surface debridement, which is a procedure wherein the damaged gum tissue is removed. Unfortunately, there are cases where nonsurgical periodontal treatment is not enough. Some conditions require surgery.

Surgical Periodontal Treatment
There are regenerative procedures that are designed to reverse some of the damage caused by periodontal disease, such as bone loss and tissue loss.

One surgical periodontal treatment is called a pocket reduction procedure or “flap surgery,” in which your periodontist folds back the gum tissue, allowing your doctor to clean and remove the plaque and tartar that have built up beneath the gum line. The displaced gum tissue is then secured once again with sutures.

Gum graft surgery is another surgical treatment that helps repair tooth roots which are exposed, due to gum recession. During a surgical gum graft, a small amount of gum tissue is taken from somewhere else in the mouth, and it is attached to the affected area. Exposed tooth roots are vulnerable to decay, and they are infamous for causing tooth sensitivity. Gum graft surgery reduces tooth sensitivity, and it helps to prevent bone loss and further recession.

The Widespread Reach of Periodontal Disease
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that half of Americans who are 30 years old or older have periodontitis, which is a more advanced form of periodontal disease. This amounts to more than 64 million Americans, so the detrimental effects of periodontal disease are potentially threatening to anyone.

Periodontal disease does not only threaten your oral health; the American Academy of Periodontology refers to a perio-systemic connection, which suggests that periodontal disease may be affiliated with a number of other diseases. Inflammation might be the connection between periodontal disease and other systemic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

If you notice that you have swollen or bleeding gums, loose or sensitive teeth and bad breath that persists, then these symptoms may be signs of periodontal disease. Please come and visit our office so we can assess your oral health.

For more information about surgical and nonsurgical periodontal treatment, contact Dr. Anne Nicholas at the Palm Desert Center for Advanced Periodontics, Cosmetic, Sedation and Implant Dentistry. She can be reached by phone at 760-851-0314 or at her office in Palm Desert, California.