No, there is no cure for periodontal disease, but the disease can be controlled. You might be wondering “why treat a condition if you can’t cure it? What’s the point?” Those are very good questions. Let’s look at some reasons.
Periodontal disease is an infection. Bacteria from your mouth irritate and inflame your gums (gingivitis). The bone around your teeth doesn’t like this environment and to try to escape it, the bone moves lower on the roots of your teeth, leaving less support for your tooth. The gums can either follow the bone--a condition we call recession--or they can remain at the level they were. If they remain at that level, a pocket is created between the bone and the tooth. This pocket traps more bacteria and often cannot be completely cleaned with a toothbrush, floss, or mouthwash. This trapped bacteria intensifies the breakdown of your tooth-supporting bone. Sometimes bacteria will reach the end of the tooth root and mimic an abscessed tooth. When bone support is low enough, your tooth will feel loose. Unlike most infections, periodontal disease is often not painful until it reaches a very severe level.
Treating periodontal disease helps you to keep your own teeth and to retain as much bone as you can to help support dental implants or removable appliances like partial dentures.
Once you have periodontal disease, you’ll need to commit to regular professional dental care as well as vigilant home care. Your dentist or hygienist has instruments that reach between the teeth and gums to remove any plaque and calculus build-up and the bacteria that go along with those. Bacteria levels are reduced by professional cleanings, but the levels build back up. After about three (3) months, the levels are back to where the bacteria can once again begin breaking down your teeth’s supporting structures. This is why we recommend having your teeth cleaned every three (3) months when you have periodontal disease. (Some people can go four (4) months between professional cleanings, so follow the schedule that your dentist or hygienist recommends for you.)
Missing even one cleaning can allow the destructive process to begin again. There is nothing like your own teeth. Dental implants come close, but they’re expensive and despite what you see in the advertisements, they’re not an immediate fix. Though many think dentures will solve everything, complete dentures bring their own set of problems.
If you think you have periodontal disease and want to try to keep your teeth and you don’t have a dentist, I invite you to call my office at 440-960-1940 for an appointment. We're located at 1320 Cooper Foster Park Rd. in Lorain, OH.
*Note: The information in this article is not meant to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare professionals.