About Periodontal Disease

The word periodontal means "around the tooth."

Periodontal disease is a serious, chronic bacterial infection that, if left untreated, gradually destroys the gums and bone supporting your teeth. It may affect one tooth or many teeth.

Bacteria are the primary cause of gum disease, which is seen in the mouth in the form of plaque. Plaque is a colorless sticky film that constantly forms on the teeth. Bacteria found in dental plaque produce toxins that irritate the gum tissue and may cause redness, swelling and bleeding if not removed on a daily basis. If left in the mouth, plaque eventually turns into a hard material called calculus or tartar. Until tartar is removed the gum tissue is irritated, red and often bleeds. If it remains on the teeth for an extended period of time, tartar buildup will lead to bone loss around the teeth, which can eventually lead to tooth loss.

Soft plaque can be removed by mechanical means such as brushing and flossing. Tartar must be removed by your periodontist, dentist, or hygienist by manual instrumentation. Multiple appointments may be needed with or without using local anesthesia to thoroughly clean your entire mouth. This first, non-surgical step of treatment is called scaling and root planning, or deep cleaning. In areas where there is advanced damage, a surgical procedure may be needed to obtain oral health.

Effective brushing and flossing reduces the damage caused by periodontal disease and is very important in long term maintenance. We are committed to teaching our patients the proper method of cleaning their teeth, and our patients need to be committed to changing their oral health routine to achieve and then maintain health during and after active periodontal treatment.

Treatment of periodontal disease helps maintain your teeth in a healthy state, but it is also beneficial to your entire body. Recent research shows the infection in your mouth can accelerate the disease processes in many conditions including but not limited to: heart disease, diabetes and premature/low birthweight babies.

At Periodontics of Greenville, we are committed to tailoring a conservative treatment plan specifically for you to help you maintain a state of excellent oral health.