Know your risk for periodontal disease
Progression from a healthy mouth to periodontitis
Clinical diagnosis of periodontal disease includes evaluation of symptoms, radiographs to evaluate bone loss, and measurement of gingival pocket depth and attachment loss. Potential symptoms include persistent bad breath, red and swollen gums, tender or bleeding gums, painful chewing, loose teeth, sensitive teeth, and receding gums or longer appearing teeth.
Periodontal disease treatment focuses on the control of bacterial overgrowth. Gingivitis can be reversed with thorough daily brushing and flossing and regular 6 month cleanings by a dentist or dental hygienist. Periodontitis is not reversible, but can be controlled in most cases by deep cleaning (scaling) and root planning followed by periodontal maintenance cleanings every 3 months. Medication, mainly antimicrobial rinses and antibiotics, can be prescribed to help control bacterial growth. Patients with moderate to severe periodontitis are referred to periodontists for specialized treatments, including periscope, flap surgery, and bone and tissue grafting. The most recent developments in periodontal disease treatment involve lasers to remove bacterial deposits.