Periodontal disease begins as a mild infection that’s easy to treat, yet an estimated half of all Americans over the age of 30 have periodontitis, an advanced gum disease that develops when gingivitis goes untreated. Dr. Kevin D. Jennings, LLC. in Chesapeake, Virginia, has extensive experience helping prevent periodontal disease and providing individualized treatment for the most severe cases. To schedule an appointment, call the office or book an appointment online today.
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, begins with a simple infection. However, without early treatment, the infection spreads and causes significant damage.
The bacteria that normally live in your mouth mix with mucus to form a colorless film called plaque that sticks to your teeth. When plaque isn’t removed with brushing, it hardens, forming a substance called tartar.
Bacteria continue to live in the tartar, producing acids that erode enamel and giving the bacteria time to infect your gums. That’s when gingivitis develops.
There are two stages of gum disease, gingivitis, and periodontitis:
Gum disease begins with gingivitis, which occurs when your gums become inflamed and infected from bacteria.
When gingivitis goes untreated, the infection spreads to affect the periodontal ligament and bone that support your teeth. Untreated periodontitis forms pockets around your teeth and erodes the bone, ultimately causing tooth loss.
When gum disease develops, you’ll experience one or more of the following symptoms:
You may also notice pockets forming around the base of the affected teeth.
After Dr. Jennings completes a dental exam and takes X-rays to confirm the extent of your periodontal disease, he recommends treatment based on the stage and severity of the problem. You may need:
Scaling removes tartar, and planing gets rid of rough areas on your tooth root that make it easier for bacteria to stick to the tooth. Scaling and planing are normally done by your dental hygienist at Dr. Kevin D. Jennings, LLC. during routine checkups, but Dr. Jennings does the work if your gum disease is extensive.
Dr. Jennings may apply medications after your scaling and planing procedure to fight bacteria. He might also prescribe a medicated mouth rinse to prevent plaque buildup.
In severe cases of periodontitis, Dr. Jennings may recommend surgery to clean deep under your gum and to restore receding gums or pockets so they fit securely around your teeth. Depending on the degree of bone erosion, a bone or tissue graft may be needed to restore tissue.
Whether you’re overdue for a routine dental exam or you’ve noticed bleeding when you brush, call Dr. Kevin D. Jennings, LLC. or book an appointment online today.