Periodontal Disease Brooklyn FAQs

What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is a chronic disease of the gums. It is an inflammation of the soft and hard tissues that support the teeth, and in some cases, the bone that supports the teeth.

What causes periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is caused by a build-up of plaque on the teeth. Plaque is a biofilm caused by bacteria that accumulates on the teeth. If plaque continually builds up, it eventually turns into tartar, a hardened form of plaque that is difficult to remove with just a toothbrush. The buildup of plaque and tartar causes inflammation in the gums.

What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?
The early symptoms of periodontal disease include bleeding of the gums during flossing, brushing, or when eating a hard food. This indicates an inflammation of the gums, also known as gingivitis. Gingivitis in its earliest stages can be reversed with treatments by your dentist as well as better oral hygiene. If left untreated, gingivitis will progress into periodontal disease, when plaque and tartar start to build up below the gumline, causing further inflammation. As this happens, the gums will start to deteriorate and recede, causing widening spaces between the soft and hard tissues between each tooth. This can eventually lead to tooth decay, loosening of the teeth, and tooth loss.

How is periodontal disease diagnosed?
As part of your routine dental check-up, your dentist or oral hygienist will measure the spaces between your teeth and gums. They will also check for any indication of bleeding. A space of 4mm or more between the teeth and gums and associated bleeding is one way to detect gingivitis or periodontal disease.

How is periodontal disease treated?
Dr. Phillip Frank can treat periodontal disease both non-surgically and surgically in his Brooklyn, NY office. Treatment plans will vary depending on the severity of the patient’s disease. Early stages of periodontal disease (gingivitis) can be treated by administering a deep-cleaning of the teeth and gums. This is also called scaling and root planing. This is similar to a regular cleaning in which plaque and tartar buildup is scraped off just above and below the gumline. In a deep cleaning, plaque and tartar buildup will be scraped off and any exposed tooth root surfaces where plaque and tartar buildup will also be smoothed. This will rid the patient of much of the bacteria that has accumulated.
In more severe cases of periodontal disease, surgical intervention may be required. Dr. Frank will make an opening below the gumline in order to remove any plaque, tartar, bacteria or deteriorated tissue caused by the disease. If the disease has caused severe bone or gum loss, a mesh-like fabric or bone tissue may be implanted in order to help regenerate the soft and hard tissue that has been lost.

How can periodontal disease be prevented?
Good oral hygiene is the best preventative measure for periodontal disease. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day helps prevent plaque and tartar buildup and keep your mouth clean. The more plaque there is, the more bacterial microorganisms will be able to fester. In addition to keeping your mouth clean on your own, regular visits to your dentist are also imperative. Dr. Frank recommends scheduling routine checkups once or twice a year at his New York practice. Regular visits allow your dentist to ensure your teeth and gums are healthy, or recommend anything you can do to improve your oral health. Regular visits also make it possible to catch periodontal disease at its early stages which is imperative to slowing its progression.