Periodontal [gum] diseases, including gingivitis and peridontitis, are serious oral infections that, left untreated, can lead to early tooth loss. Periodontal disease is a chronic infection affecting the gums and the underlying bone around the roots of your teeth. It is estimated that 90% of the world adult population has some form of periodontal disease. So what can we do about it?
Early diagnosis is extremely important. The mildest form of gum disease is gingivitis. If you have reddened gums that are a bit swollen and bleed easily when you brush, chances are you have gingivitis. Generally speaking there is no pain associated with gingivitis. The bacteria in dental plaque cause gingivitis. [Plaque is a sticky film that collects around your teeth]. The treatment is simple a professional cleaning, followed by a good oral hygiene regimen. With proper brushing and flossing, you can be disease free in as little as a week!
Untreated gingivitis will progress to periodontitis. If the plaque is left undisturbed, it will calcify creating "tarter" or calculus. The calculus can form below or above the gums [sub or supra]. The calculus is very irritating to the gums and causes a great deal of swelling and inflammation. More important is that bacteria continue to collect on the calculus releasing toxins which breakdown the supporting tissues around your teeth. This includes the bone holding your roots in place. As you lose bone, your teeth loosen and if not treated, will eventually require extraction.
The main cause of periodontal disease is bacteria found in dental plaque. However, there are additional risk factors that you should be aware of.
1. Smoking [could be the greatest risk factor]
2. Poor nutrition
3. Pregnancy and Puberty
5. Stress 6. Diabetes
7. Clenching and grinding your teeth
8. Immune diseases
Anyone who has any of these risk factors should take additional steps to protect their teeth and gums. I recommend professional cleanings 3-4 times a year. By doing this, I can monitor your oral hygiene and catch any problem areas before they progress. You raised the question of costs; root planning is not a routine polishing that one might have done every six months in conjunction with their check-up. Full mouth root planning is an extremely labor intensive procedure and generally will be preformed in two appointments, each appointment approximately two hours in length. I don't think the $1050 fee you were quoted was out of line for four hours of office time.