Periodontal Disease

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Periodontal Treatments and Preventive Care in Virginia Beach

Periodontal disease affects many adults across the country, producing symptoms ranging from simple inflammation of the gums to serious damage to the supporting bone and soft tissue. The danger is that the damage can ultimately lead to tooth loss, so it is important for people to get treatment, even if they are experiencing only mild symptoms.

How to prevent gum disease

Of course, a big part of stopping, slowing or preventing periodontal disease is practicing good dental hygiene. Taking care of teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing and dental visits will go a long way toward protecting you, and if you already have the disease, good hygiene will help keep it from progressing to an irreversible stage, periodontitis .

The longer you allow bacteria to remain on your teeth, the more damage they can do. Inflammation of the gums, called gingivitis, is the first symptom that people typically notice. Gingivitis causes gums to become red and swollen and bleed easily. This is actually a mild form of the disease, and it can often be reversed by simply improving your dental habits and caring for your teeth and gums better. 

If left alone, Gingivitis will become Periodontitis 

If it is not treated, gingivitis can turn into periodontitis, which is an inflammation around the whole tooth. At this point, gums withdraw from teeth and form pockets that can get infected. The body tries to fight these pockets of infection, as the bacteria spread under the gum line. Bone tissue can start to break down, loosening teeth, and eventually loose teeth will have to be removed.

Watch for signs and symptoms of Periodontal gum disease

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you might have periodontal disease: red and swollen gums, bad breath that doesn't go away, bleeding of the gums, painful chewing, sensitive or loose teeth, receding gums. 

Treatment at our office will vary depending on the severity of your condition. Typically, it will involve removing plaque and tartar using a method called root planning or scaling. Planing gets rid of the spots on the tooth root where bacteria collect. Medications are used to treat an infection, and deep cleaning methods are used to treat more severe cases.

Of course, after treatment, we will offer advice to patients for good daily dental care at home. This is essential to prevent the disease from progressing. Eliminate pain and discomfort and preserve natural teeth as long as possible by following a good at-home hygiene routine and visiting your dentist twice a year. If you live in or around Virginia Beach, call Wernick Family Dentistry to schedule an appointment or visit the appointment page on the website. 

Types of Periodontal Disease

When left untreated, gingivitis (mild gum inflammation) can spread to below the gum line.  When the gums become irritated by the toxins contained in plaque, a chronic inflammatory response causes the body to break down and destroy its own bone and soft tissue.  There may be little or no symptoms as periodontal disease causes the teeth to separate from the infected gum tissue.  Deepening pockets between the gums and teeth are generally indicative that soft tissue and bone is being destroyed by periodontal disease.

Here are some of the most common types of periodontal disease:

Chronic periodontitis

Inflammation within supporting tissues cause deep pockets and gum recession.  It may appear the teeth are lengthening, but in actuality, the gums (gingiva) are receding.  This is the most common form of periodontal disease and is characterized by progressive loss of attachment, interspersed with periods of rapid progression.

Aggressive periodontitis

This form of gum disease occurs in an otherwise clinically healthy individual.  It is characterized by rapid loss of gum attachment, chronic bone destruction and familial aggregation.

Necrotizing periodontitis

This form of periodontal disease most often occurs in individuals suffering from systemic conditions such as HIV, immunosuppression and malnutrition.  Necrosis (tissue death) occurs in the periodontal ligament, alveolar bone and gingival tissues.

Periodontitis caused by systemic disease

This form of gum disease often begins at an early age.  Medical condition such as respiratory disease, diabetes and heart disease are common cofactors.

Treatment for Periodontal Disease

There are many surgical and nonsurgical treatments the periodontist may choose to perform, depending upon the exact condition of the teeth, gums and jawbone.  A complete periodontal exam of the mouth will be done before any treatment is performed or recommended.

Here are some of the more common treatments for periodontal disease:

Scaling and root planing

In order to preserve the health of the gum tissue, the bacteria and calculus (tartar) which initially caused the infection, must be removed.  The gum pockets will be cleaned and treated with antibiotics as necessary to help alleviate the infection.  A prescription mouthwash may be incorporated into daily cleaning routines.

Tissue regeneration

When the bone and gum tissues have been destroyed, regrowth can be actively encouraged using grafting procedures.  A membrane may be inserted into the affected areas to assist in the regeneration process.

Pocket elimination surgery

Pocket elimination surgery (also known as flap surgery) is a surgical treatment which can be performed to reduce the pocket size between the teeth and gums.  Surgery on the jawbone is another option which serves to eliminate indentations in the bone which foster the colonization of bacteria.

Dental implants

When teeth have been lost due to periodontal disease, the aesthetics and functionality of the mouth can be restored by implanting prosthetic teeth into the jawbone.  Tissue regeneration procedures may be required prior to the placement of a dental implant in order to strengthen the bone.

Learn More About Treating Gingivitis or Periodontitis in Virginia Beach

Ask your dentist if you have questions or concerns about periodontal disease, periodontal treatment, or dental implants.

The Link Between Oral Heath And The Health Of Your Body

Common co-factors associated with periodontal disease:


A research study has shown that individuals with pre-existing diabetic conditions are more likely to either have, or be more susceptible to periodontal disease.  Periodontal disease can increase blood sugar levels which makes controlling the amount of glucose in the blood difficult.  This factor alone can increase the risk of diabetic complications.  

Heart Disease

An article published by the American Academy of periodontology suggests that patients whose bodies react to periodontal bacteria have an increased risk of developing heart disease. There are several theories which explain the link between heart disease and periodontitis.  

Pregnancy Complications

Women in general are at increased risk of developing periodontal disease because of hormone fluctuations that occur during puberty, pregnancy and menopause.  Research suggests that pregnant women suffering from periodontal disease are more at risk of preeclampsia and delivering underweight, premature babies.

Respiratory Disease

Oral bacterium linked with gum disease has been shown to possibly cause or worsen respiratory conditions such as emphysema, pneumonia and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).  Oral bacteria can be drawn into the lower respiratory tract during the course of normal inhalation and colonize, causing bacterial infections. Studies have shown that the repeated infections which characterize COPD may be linked with periodontitis.

Don't Delay Treating Periodontal Disease, Contact Wernick Family Dentistry Today

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