Nearly one out of every two adults in the United States suffers from periodontal disease, but it is treatable and responds best to early intervention. Diagnosis and management of the condition can significantly impact both your dental and general health. Dr. G.J. Palmieri provides periodontal care at his Lancaster, PA, office. To learn more about the impact of periodontal care on your well-being, contact us today to set up an appointment.
Understanding the Importance of Preventive Care
A healthy mouth normally supports many benign bacteria. However, once plaque and tartar build up on the teeth, bacteria can begin to thrive and impact gum health. In its early stages, gum disease is referred to as gingivitis and may cause swollen or bleeding gums. In more severe cases, the bacteria may cause damage beneath the gum line and weaken the supporting structures of the teeth. Left untreated, the disease can lead to bone reduction and tooth loss. Consequently, catching the condition and initiating periodontal care as early as possible is enormously important.
Treating Gum Disease
The treatment plan your dentist recommends will depend entirely on the severity of the case. Using a salivary diagnostic test, Dr. Palmieri can determine if you are at risk of developing the disease and which treatment is best to help prevent further complications.
If your condition is mild to moderate, you may simply need to change your home care routine. Prescription mouthwash can help minimize the growth of bacteria. Antibiotics may also be recommended for more aggressive treatment. Medication can be administered in pills or capsules, mouthwash, or a gel directly applied to the gums.
Deep cleaning may be required for more advanced cases. This treatment consists of two procedures: scaling and root planing. During scaling, the dentist removes plaque and tartar that has built up above and below the gum line. To perform root planing, the doctor will smooth the surface of the tooth roots, removing rough areas bacteria can collect in. While these procedures are typically performed together, root planing may not be necessary for some patients.
In some cases, patients may require gum surgery to address the damage caused by periodontal disease. Treatment may include crown-lengthening surgeries, procedures to reduce the size of the infected pockets of tissue, soft tissue grafts to restore damaged gums, regenerative measures, or tooth extraction.
The Link Between Oral and Overall Health
Many studies point to the link between an individual’s oral health and their overall health. Periodontal disease often reflects a person's overall health and can even put patients at risk of developing more serious, systemic problems. Conditions associated with periodontal disease include:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Respiratory conditions
- Immunosuppressive disorders such as HIV/AIDS
- Degenerative mental diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s
- Premature birth
Regular dental appointments not only allow your doctor to screen for signs of periodontal disease, but also offer an opportunity to catch other health problems in their early stages.
Reach Out Today
Dr. Palmieri emphasizes comprehensive patient care at his office. To learn more about how periodontal treatment can improve your health and overall quality of life, contact us today.