Periodontal Disease

Periodontal (Pyorrhea) Disease and dental caries (cavities) are the two major diseases of the mouth. These are found throughout all of the worlds population. While dental caries, if untreated, can cause loss of all your teeth, periodontal disease is a serious inflammatory condition which not only causes loss of teeth by destroying the bone but also can have serious medical complications.

If you're diagnosed with periodontal disease, your periodontist may recommend periodontal surgery. Periodontal surgery is necessary when your periodontist determines that the tissue around your teeth is unhealthy and cannot be repaired with non-surgical treatment. Following are the four types of surgical treatments most commonly prescribed:

Your bone and gum tissue should fit snugly around your teeth like a turtleneck around your neck. When you have periodontal disease, this supporting tissue and bone is destroyed, forming "pockets" around the teeth. 

Dental plaque is formed by bacteria which, if not removed from the teeth and gums daily, can cause the advanced disease. There is little pain with periodontal disease. Bleeding of the gums is the only sign at first, then loose teeth and bad breath. Oral diseases can be quickly treated and eliminated. Early detection is best! People have different genetic predisposition to gum disease but most are susceptible. Red swollen gums need to be treated.

Periodontal Disease

Over time, these pockets become deeper, providing a larger space for bacteria to live. As bacteria develop around the teeth, they can accumulate and advance under the gum tissue. These deep pockets collect even more bacteria, resulting in further bone and tissue loss. Eventually, if too much bone is lost, the teeth will need to be extracted.

Your periodontist has measured the depth of your pocket(s). A pocket reduction procedure has been recommended because you have pockets that are too deep to clean with daily at-home oral hygiene and a professional care routine.

During this procedure, your periodontist folds back the gum tissue and removes the disease-causing bacteria before securing the tissue into place. In some cases, irregular surfaces of the damaged bone are smoothed to limit areas where disease-causing bacteria can hide. This allows the gum tissue to better reattach to healthy bone.

What are the benefits of this procedure?

Reducing pocket depth and eliminating existing bacteria are important to prevent damage caused by the progression of periodontal disease and to help you maintain a healthy smile. Eliminating bacteria alone may not be sufficient to prevent disease recurrence. Deeper pockets are more difficult for you and your dental care professional to clean, so it's important for you to reduce them. Reduced pockets and a combination of daily oral hygiene and professional maintenance care increase your chances of keeping your natural teeth – and decrease the chance of serious health problems associated with periodontal disease.

The American Journal of Cardiology and Journal of Periodontology have issued a consensus statement that periodontal disease is related to cardiovascular disease. Oral infections can become bacterial endocarditis (infection of the heart).

Periodontal disease treatment also includes night grinding and clinching. This causes inflammation of the supporting tissues of the teeth. The placement of a customized acrylic night guard helps to protect the dentition from these abusive forces.

More detailed explaination of periodontal treatment can be found on the American Academy of Periodontology website at

Could you be one of the millions of people who have gum disease and don't know it?  Click here to take the risk assessment test now.


Periodontal Disease Periodontal Disease

Dr. Alford has practiced Periodontics and Implant Dentistry for over 30 years serving patients throughout North Georgia, including Rome, Adairsville, Calhoun and Cartersville.
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