If it's been a while since your last dental cleaning, you may have “gum disease” which is also called “periodontal disease.” If left untreated the sticky film of bacteria (plaque) can cause bone loss and eventually teeth can become loose (among other things!)
Periodontal disease is active gum disease due to bacteria that leads to the loss of bone. This bone cannot be grown back, however, the gum disease can be treated to reduce bacteria and reduce inflammation, that can halt the progress of bone loss. If left untreated, teeth can become loose and eventually fall out or need to be removed.
Scaling and Root Planing is the process of "deep cleaning" to remove necrotic tissue and tartar that has built up against the teeth, that allows for the tissue to heal, inflammation to reduce, and active disease to halt. Typically, after scaling and root planing is done, a patient will then be put on periodontal maintenance, a special type of cleaning for patients with periodontal disease. There is no cure for periodontal disease, however we can slow its progression with stringent home care and 3-4 month periodontal maintenance appointments at the dentist. In some cases, the periodontal disease is severe enough that we refer the patient to a periodontist, a gum and bone specialist, for further treatment.
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