Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth. Your gum tissue is not attached to the teeth as high as it may seem. Where the gum line meets the tooth is a very shallow v-shaped crevice called a sulcus. In healthy teeth, this space between tooth and gum is usually three millimeters or less. Periodontal diseases attack just below the gum line in the sulcus, where they cause the attachment of the tooth and its supporting tissues to break down. As the tissues are damaged, the sulcus develops into a pocket greater than three millimeters: generally, the more severe the disease, the greater the depth of the pocket. The enlarged pockets allow harmful bacteria to grow and make it difficult to practice effective oral hygiene thus acting more like an infection. Left untreated, periodontal disease may eventually lead to tooth loss.
The first step we take to getting your teeth and gums into a healthy state from periodontal disease involves a special cleaning, called scaling and root planning. This procedure removes plaque and tartar deposits on the tooth and root surfaces. This helps the gum tissue to heal and pockets to shrink. This is sometimes referred to as “deep cleaning” and may take more that one visit and a medication maybe recommended to help control the infection or to aid in healing.