Periodontal Therapy for Gum Disease

By Carolyn Holmes

October 8th, 2019

“What do you mean, I need Periodontal Therapy? I just want a regular cleaning!”

As dental clinicians, we hear this quite often from patients. But if we’re recommending periodontal therapy, it’s because we’ve seen signs of periodontitis —and it’s important that we address it right away with specialized deep-cleaning treatments.

What is periodontitis?

Periodontitis, or gum disease, is a chronic and progressive infection of the gums that, if allowed to persist, leads to alveolar bone destruction and loss of tissue attachment to the teeth. To treat it, we recommend periodontal therapy, which may include a deep cleaning or scaling and root planning (known as SRP). It is the treatment necessary to stop the disease from spreading and to decrease bacteria in the soft tissue surrounding the teeth.

Think about it: if you cut your finger and it continued to bleed for weeks, months or even years, you would seek medical advice, right? Well, the same is true of oral health. Bleeding gums are not normal. You wouldn’t believe how often I hear, “my gums have always bled” as an excuse from patients to not be concerned. Why is it okay for our gums to bleed but not your finger?

Bleeding gums are caused by a chronic and progressive infection (periodontitis). When active bacteria are present, causing the bleeding, the bacteria are then introduced into our bloodstreams when we brush, floss, eat, drink, chew gum, etc. Once this happens, our bodies are invaded with an underlying infection. Thus, our oral cavity should be the first line of defense to stop bacteria that causes other infections in our body.

Gum disease leads to other diseases

Did you know? Periodontitis (gum disease) has been associated with the following medical conditions: respiratory disease, chronic kidney disease, cognitive impairment, obesity, metabolic syndrome, cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Therefore, preventing gum disease plays an important roll in preventing these common and often very serious diseases.

In our society, it is popular for us to focus on overall health. People should know, then, that good dental health is a vital step in being healthy overall.

Join us next month when we go through the specific treatment of periodontal disease.

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