You should have a standard cleaning at least every 6 months. A periodontal treatment is a deeper cleaning sometimes requiring an anesthetic. You will be required to have follow up cleanings 3 or 4 times per year.
Periodontal diseases are bacterial infections of the gums, bone and periodontal ligament (fibers that support the teeth and hold them in the jaw). They destroy the gums and supporting bone that hold your teeth in your mouth. As a result, teeth may loosen and fall out or need to be removed and replaced with dental bridges or implants.
Periodontal plastic surgery may be required to cover exposed tooth root surfaces, correct gum and jawbone indentations or reshape and repair the gum tissue. Dental implants are placed to provide an artificial tooth root to support dental restorations that will later be created by your dentist.
The primary cause of periodontal diseases is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless coating that forms on your teeth. If left untreated – generally as a result of poor oral hygiene habits – the bacteria in plaque infect the gums, release toxins that redden and inflame the tissue, and gradually destroy the tissues supporting the teeth and underlying bone. When this happens, the gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets that fill with more plaque and cause additional infection.
Types of Periodontal Diseases
Periodontal diseases/conditions include:
- Gingivitis. An inflammation of the gums surrounding the teeth, gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. At this stage, there is typically no discomfort. If not properly treated, it may progress to periodontitis.
- Periodontitis. There are various forms of periodontitis, including the following.
- Chronic periodontitis, the most common form, results in inflammation within the supporting tissues of the teeth, progressive attachment and bone loss. It is diagnosed by bone loss (through dental X-rays), pocket formation and/or gum recession. It typically affects adults who are 35 or older, but it can occur at any age. Attachment loss may progress slowly, but periods of rapid progression also can occur.
- Aggressive periodontitis, a less common form, is characterized by rapid attachment loss and bone destruction. It usually occurs in patients who are otherwise clinically healthy. There are two forms of aggressive periodontitis: localized aggressive periodontitis, which most often occurs near puberty and usually involves attachment loss around first molars and/or front teeth; and generalized aggressive periodontitis, which usually affects people under 30 years old and involves attachment loss on three or more permanent teeth as well as first molars and incisors.
Periodontitis stemming from systemic diseases often begins at a young age. It is associated with systemic conditions such as heart disease, respiratory problems and diabetes.
Necrotizing periodontal disease is an infection characterized by the death of cells in the gingival tissues, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone (part of the upper or lower jaw that contains roots of teeth). It most commonly occurs in patients with systemic conditions such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection, malnutrition and immunosuppression. These types of periodontal diseases cause ulcers in the gums between the teeth. Stress, smoking and poor oral hygiene sometimes can contribute to this problem.