Prevention and Treatment of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal (gum) disease is a bacterial infection that causes destruction and loss of gum tissue and bone that supports the teeth. Periodontal disease is cause by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. If plaque is not removed regularly by brushing and flossing these bacteria will emit toxins that can damage the gums.
The early stage of periodontal disease is called gingivitis. The gums become red and inflamed and bleed easily. At this stage the disease is still reversible by good oral hygiene.
The more advanced stages of periodontal disease are called periodontitis. Not only are the gums affected, but now damage has extended to the bone. In periodontitis unremoved plaque hardens into calculus (tartar). As plaque and calculus continue to buildup the gums begin to recede away from the teeth and pockets form between the teeth and gums. The plaque and calculus that has built-up can only be removed professionally by deep cleaning (also known as root planning and scaling). Left untreated destruction will continue. At this stage the process is not reversible. However, further damage can be prevented by proper professional and home care.
Prophy: removal of plaque, calculus and stains from teeth that are above the gum line
Root Planning: a procedure to remove microbial flora, bacterial toxins, calculus, and diseased cementum or dentin on the root surfaces and in the pocket. If you have pockets greater the 4mm and subgingival calculus a simple prophy is not indicated.