four stages of periodontal disease are:
I. Gingivitis--The gums are inflamed. They may be red, swollen and
bleed with flossing. This is usually reversible with cleaning and thorough home hygiene.
II. Early Periodontitis--The infection is just beginning to destroy
the bone that anchors your teeth. It can be arrested and controlled. Usually a deeper form
of cleaning called root planing with thorough home hygiene is all that is needed
III. Moderate Periodontitis--The infection has caused significant
supporting bone loss which is easily visible on a dental X Ray. It can be arrested and
contained, however at this point, surgical therapy may be required.
IV. Advanced Periodontitis--Severe bone loss is noted. Some teeth may
be loose already. This must be treated aggressively, or tooth loss will soon result. Your
dentist may advise surgery or refer you to a periodontist.
In the pictures below, notice the accumulation of plaque and calculus around the teeth.
As this occurs, the supporting bone for the teeth is damaged. In cases where significant
damage has already occurred, looseness or "mobility" may be noted. The process
must be stopped or tooth loss will occur.
The type of treatment you will require varies from case to case. It depends on how far
the damage extends into the bone.
The first phase of care is usually a thorough scaling to remove the calculus, or
"tartar" below the gumline. The roots may have to be smoothed by root planing so
that the gums can heal better. Occasionally, an antibiotic and an antimicrobial mouthrinse
may be prescribed. Next, you will be educated in how to clean your teeth at home
properly to avoid damage caused by the re-depositing of plaque on your teeth.
Home care must be performed daily. You will be shown how to do this and some products may
be recommended to help you keep you mouth cleaner.