Gingivitis (inflammation of the gum tissue) and periodontitis (loss of supporting attachment and bone) afflict greater than 60% of the population.
Inflammation of the gum tissue can progress to periodontal disease without any signs or symptoms of pain or discomfort. Left untreated, periodontal disease can result in tooth mobility, spaces between teeth, tooth pain, infection and tooth loss.
Early detection and diagnosis is essential for maintaining periodontal health. Since there is no cure for gum disease, identification of the disease process as soon as possible is critical. Routine prophylactic cleanings may be adequate for a healthy mouth, but individuals with gum disease (periodontitis) need additional therapy to help minimize the damage caused by the disease and return the gums and supporting structures to a healthy state.
In some cases, deep cleanings (Scaling and Root Planning) are adequate treatment. In those individuals where the disease has progressed, gum surgery by a periodontist may be needed. As with any disease process, the best treatment is prevention. Proper brushing, flossing and periodic evaluations are the first step in combating gum disease.