Periodontal infection is caused by bacteria that are always present in our mouths. Some of us are more susceptible to this infection than others, depending on how well our body (our immune system) fights infection. Our ability to fight this infection can vary from day to day, week to week, depending on what else is going on with our life and health.
We now know that bleeding of the gums, when they are gently touched, is a definite sign that infection is present. This means that the bacteria and the toxins (poisons) they produce have overwhelmed the immune system. The lining of the gum tissue (skin) next to the tooth becomes cracked and ulcerated and bleeds when touched. If the infection continues, uncontrolled, it will eventually result in destruction of the bone that supports the teeth and the face. This bone loss is permanent. If the bone destruction continues, it will result in loss of the teeth, since there will be nothing left to support them.
Fortunately, periodontal infection can now be detected and treated early! Each time you see the dental hygienist, she will do a periodontal screening to detect early signs of this infection. If the gums bleed during this screening, infection is present. With early detection of the infection, it can be controlled non-surgically. If the infection has progressed, surgical intervention may be necessary to control it.
We are excited about our ability to detect this infection early and to be able to offer you non-surgical therapy. Periodontal therapy will include detoxifying the root surface (reducing the embedded bacterial toxins). We use the latest instruments, including ultrasonics, to reduce the toxin and bacterial levels to a point the immune system can control the infection. We will also irrigate under the gum line with a prescription antimicrobial medicine. Your active participation with removal of bacteria at home every day is critical to the control of your infection. We will assist you with specific instructions on effective bacterial (plaque) removal.
Periodontal infection is not curable but is controllable. Following your active therapy, one of our doctors will recommend supportive periodontal therapy to help you keep your infection under control and prevent further bone destruction. We now know that the bacteria that cause periodontal infection can become disease producing in 45-90 days. Therefore, your interval for supportive periodontal therapy will be individually determined by the doctor.
We are eager to answer al of your additional questions concerning periodontal infection and its treatment. Please ask any of our team members if you want to know more.