Periodontics St. Louis
Dr. Scott Schlueter is an expert in identifying periodontal disease. When patients come to Schlueter Periodontics and Implants for a consultation, we help them discover the most appropriate treatment for their unique condition and how to treat periodontal disease.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal means “around the tooth”. Periodontal diseases are gum and bone infections caused by the bacteria (germs) in your mouth. These infections destroy the foundation of the gum and bone around your teeth. They are some of the most common infections in the United States. More than 75% of American adults over the age of 50 have some form of periodontal disease and over a third of the total population has moderate periodontal disease.
Despite the number of people infected with periodontal disease, many don’t believe it affects them. In a recent survey, 8 out of 10 Americans believed they didn’t have periodontal disease, even though 7 out of 10 had one or more symptoms.
Periodontal disease can be painless or asymptomatic until it is almost too late to save teeth. The most common symptoms are tooth drifting, mobility and gum swelling. If left untreated, periodontal disease can cause bad breath, swollen bleeding gums and eventually tooth loss. Periodontal disease is the major reason for adult tooth loss.
Most importantly, periodontal disease is preventable. Talk to Dr. Schlueter regarding the cause, prevention and treatment of periodontal disease.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
The main cause of periodontal disease is plaque, a sticky colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. Daily home care, including proper tooth brushing and flossing, is essential to prevent plaque buildup. If plaque is not removed, it can harden into a substance called calculus (also known as tartar) in less than two days. Calculus is so hard it can only be removed with a professional cleaning.
Toxins released by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums causing infection which can spread into the bone. This infection can also enter the blood stream and affect your general health (see Systemic Health Considerations with Periodontal Disease). When the plaque and calculus located on the tooth under the gums, get too close to the bone, the bone deteriorates. This causes the gum tissue to attach farther down the tooth root surface, allowing for further progression of the plaque down the root surface. If left untreated, the process will continue until there is inadequate bone to support the teeth. At this point, the teeth will have to be removed.