“Perio” means around, and “dont” means the teeth. So “Periodontal” means the gums and bone that support your teeth. Periodontics is the discipline of dentistry that deals with the health of the structures that support and protect your teeth.
As a general rule-of-thumb, most tooth loss that occurs prior to or near age 30 is due to decay or fracture. More tooth loss after that age is due to periodontal disease. Now this is just a general rule, not specific. People can develop periodontal problems at any age, but it becomes more common the older we get. You can have beautiful teeth, but if the gums and bone aren’t healthy, you will still have problems. We use the example of building a beautiful cedar fence all around your yard, but only placing the fence posts 12 inches into the ground. The fence looks great, but the first time the wind blows…problem!
Years ago, periodontal disease used to be called “pyorrhea”…what an ugly word! And it didn’t really mean anything to most people. Periodontal disease is a much more accurate term, and describes better what is going on.
What causes periodontal disease? Lots of things are involved, and it is usually a combination of factors that lead to the problem. Factor number one in most cases is simply lack of proper dental care. Periodontal disease occurs when the bacteria that populate the crevices around your teeth are able to remain and develop long enough to produce by-products and enzymes that can break down the gum and bone support for your teeth. And the longer this happens, the more it progresses, like a viscious cycle. Genetics can play a part, but that part is more related to your immune system, and the way your system handles the certain bacteria that are involved. Just because your mother and your grandmother had “that there pyorrhea” doesn’t mean you will, or that you have to.
Prevention of periodontal disease is the best method, and that includes regular visits to your dental office, proper care from that office, and conscientious care by yourself at home. But if periodontal disease still begins to develop, we have care and therapy methods to arrest the disease process, and maintain a state of continuing health. This will help you retain your teeth for your life.
We complete a full periodontal evaluation of all of our patients, both to gauge your condition and status at your first visit with us, and to establish a baseline so we can catch any progression while it is in its early stages.
And in the circumstances where maybe you have already reached a point of moderate to severe periodontal disease, we have access to some excellent Periodontal Specialists. The specialists have many new methods and techniques that are wonderful , and can lead to restoring your oral health with a minimum of, or no, tooth loss.