Gum disease, sometimes called periodontal disease, is one of the leading causes of tooth loss. The bacteria that cause this dental disease has been linked to serious health problems such as heart problems, poor circulation leading to diabetic concerns, strokes, premature and even low birth rate babies and even cancer. When we treat gum disease, our concern is for your overall health, not just your teeth. Even with all the advancement in prevention, 70% of all adults still have some form of gum disease present in their mouth. For this reason we always do a thorough evaluation so we can prescribe the right level of cleaning.
Actually there are 3 different levels of gum and bone disease. Even in 2012 approximately 75% of the adult population still has some form of gum disease. Given all the advances in our service and technology this isn’t a particularly proud number for our profession since it hasn’t significantly changed in the last several decades. If your one of the 25% – congratulations! A preventive (or regular) level of cleaning works well for you if you have no evidence of disease in your mouth. For the other 75% there are two levels of therapeutic cleaning you need to know about.
If you have disease present, which means bleeding, tenderness or increased depth of the cuff of tissue around your teeth, then a therapeutic cleaning is what is needed for you. Depending on your individualized problem you may benefit from either Supportive Periodontal Therapy (SPT) or Scaling or Root Planing.
Supportive Periodontal Therapy is a more thorough cleaning regimen designed to remove excess deposits that are inflaming the gum tissue.
Scaling and Root Planing is an even more thorough cleaning removing deposits and toxic substances that have attached to the roots of the teeth. Typically there is loss of the supportive bone because of these elements.
Often, these two therapeutic regimens are combined, again depending on the amount and location of disease present.
In summary always remember there are levels and unless you’re one of the fortunate 25% these other levels should be part of your conversation with your dentist and hygienist. In fact, doing a basic cleaning with disease present can actually be harmful to you. Call us if you would like to learn more; and remember, “it’s not just a cleaning.”