Understanding What’s Reversible And Irreversible In Periodontal Disease

October 9, 2019

What constitutes the perfect dental appointment? Basically, we’d like to walk in, sit down, and have the dentist tell us that our mouth looks amazing. We’d prefer a cleaning that is completely routine and unremarkable, and then not have to think about another dental visit until six months later. If your visit doesn’t go that way, don’t be shocked. Even if you think that you are practicing proper dental hygiene, you may not be. If that is the case, you could find yourself being diagnosed with periodontal disease. This can happen even when you use the right mouthwash, floss and brush regularly, and eat the right foods.

What are the determining factors for the development of periodontal disease and is it reversible?

What’s Reversible?

Here’s the good news – gingivitis is a periodontal disease that is reversible. If you are experiencing gingivitis, the following may be detected:

  • Calculus and plaque
  • Inflammation upon probing, bleeding
  • Swollen gums that are red
  • Small pockets

Note: Root exposure and bone loss are not included here. A routine cleaning by your dentist or hygienist can help prevent and reverse gingivitis. A more aggressive cleaning may be required in some cases. If you are not a regular flosser, debridement may be needed. To attain ideal periodontal health, a second cleaning may be needed.

What’s Treatable?

A treatable form of periodontal disease is known as slight chronic periodontitis. Symptoms can include the following:

  • Slight attachment loss (clinical)
  • Bone loss
  • Root exposure
  • Calculus and plaque
  • Pus
  • Upon probing, bleeding occurs
  • Small pockets (4 to 6 mm)

Treatment can include the following:

  • Frequent return for treatment
  • Laser treatment
  • Adjunctive medications
  • Root planing or scaling, etc.

What’s Irreversible?

Unfortunately, some periodontal diseases cannot be reversed. These include the following:

Moderate periodontitis – Once periodontitis moves from slight to moderate, it becomes irreversible. The following clinical findings are included as symptoms of moderate periodontitis:

  • Loose teeth due to moderate attachment loss
  • Bone loss
  • Moderate root exposure
  • Calculus and plaque
  • Pus
  • Upon probing, bleeding occurs
  • Swollen gums that are red
  • Larger pockets (5 to 6 mm)

Though irreversible, treatment is needed and can include the following:

  • Frequent return for ongoing treatment
  • Laser treatment
  • Adjunctive medications
  • Root planing and/or scaling

If, after treatment, teeth do not respond, a gum specialist or periodontist referral may be indicated.

Advanced periodontitis – The move from moderate to advanced periodontitis is also irreversible and includes the following clinical findings or symptoms:

  • Large pockets (6 mm or more)
  • Swollen gums that are red
  • Upon probing, bleeding occurs
  • Pus
  • Calculus and plaque
  • Severe root exposure
  • Bone loss
  • Severe attachment loss
  • Loose teeth

Typically included in a treatment plan are the following:

  • Root planing and scaling
  • Adjunctive medications
  • Laser treatments
  • Frequent visits

In the case of bone loss (due to the advanced nature of the disease) a periodontist referral may be indicated.

How Does Periodontal Disease Begin?

Frequently, the cause of periodontal disease lies in our everyday choices. If you’re too tired at night, or in too big of a rush in the morning, you may skip brushing. Perhaps your toothbrush is less effective because it’s old and the bristles are worn. Then, of course, there’s flossing. How often do you floss? Plaque can calcify on your teeth after only 48 hours. Until you get your teeth cleaned again by your dentist, it will remain there. So begins the process of developing periodontal disease. At Real Smile Dental, we would prefer that every one of our patients be spared the pain, inconvenience, and cost of periodontal disease. We will do everything in our power to make that happen. If you would like to prevent periodontal disease, or are in need of treatment, schedule an appointment with one of our professionals today.

This page article was written by Real Smile Dental Marketing, it may not express the views of the dentists. For an expert consultation, please schedule an appointment.