About Periodontal (Gum) Disease
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a serious infection caused by bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. In the United States, approximately 85% of adults have some form of gum disease. Tobacco users are also at increased risk for periodontal disease. Recent studies show that tobacco use may be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of periodontal disease.
When gum disease occurs, supporting tissue and bone around the teeth are destroyed, forming “pockets”around the teeth. This can result in TOOTH LOSS if left untreated. It may also lead to acute (sudden) infections such as abscesses.
Gum disease is normally a “silent” disease, not causing pain. Warning signs of gum disease include persistent red, bleeding, and swollen gums. Other symptoms include:
- Bleeding of the gums during brushing or flossing
- Occasional swelling or tenderness of the gum, although frequently with no accompanying pain
- Drainage (pus) between teeth and gums
- Persistent bad breath
- Receding gums, making the teeth appear longer than before
- Development of spaces between the teeth
- Changes in the way teeth fit together when biting
Many scientific studies have found that gum disease may also affect overall health due to passing of harmful bacteria and bacterial toxins into the bloodstream. Research indicates that gum disease may increase the risk for heart attack and stroke. For individuals with diabetes in Houston, periodontal disease may have a negative effect on control of blood sugar. For pregnant women, periodontal disease may increase the likelihood of premature and low birth weight babies. It is important to take action quickly to protect your gums, teeth, and health.
Gum Disease Diagnosis
A periodontal disease diagnosis is assessed by our Houston gum specialist office during a standard periodontal exam. A periodontal exam is a critical aspect to your regular dental visits and helps to reveal oral health issues that need to be addressed. During this examination process, a periodontal probe is used in order to measure the small space (pocket) between the tooth and the gums. The probe helps to indicate if pockets are deeper than normal. In cases when periodontal disease has severely progressed, the spaces or pockets typically are deeper. These measurements help confirm the presence of periodontal disease. In addition, x-rays aid in determining the amount of bone supporting the teeth in your mouth. We will measure the depth of these pockets, amount of gum bleeding present, check if teeth are losse, etc. to make a proper periodontal diagnosis.
Gum Disease Treatment in Houston, TX
The treatment of advanced gum disease usually involves three phases of treatment:
- Initial periodontal therapy (non-surgical Gum Infection Therapy (sometimes called scaling and root planning or “deep cleaning”) to remove the bacteria that cause gum disease. Dr. Choudhury is one of the few periodontists in Houston that offers laser gum treatment
- Periodontal corrective procedures (periodontal surgery and regeneration) to correct the damaged bone and gum tissues
- Periodontal maintenance (specialized cleanings, usually every three months) to help prevent re-infection of the gums