Periodontal disease attacks the gums and the underlying bone structure that support the teeth. The disease starts out as gingivitis, a condition caused by plaque buildup. Plaque forms as a sticky bacteria charged film that clings to the teeth and causes the gums to become swollen, red, and bleed easily. If plaque is left to collect it can harden and turn to tartar. Unlike plaque, which can go unnoticed, tartar forms into a brownish colored crusty substance that you can see on your teeth.
Tartar buildup can only be removed with the dental tools that your hygienist uses. Since tartar is formed by plaque that has been left on the teeth long enough to harden, the best way to avoid tartar buildup is by thoroughly brushing away everyday plaque.
If gingivitis progresses to the more severe stage of periodontitis the gum attachment will begin to move down the root and “pockets” will form and deepen as the gum disease progresses. At this point your teeth are in jeopardy and you will need periodontal therapy.
Traditional gum surgery opens the gum tissue in order to reduce the pockets that have formed, and remove the tartar from the roots. Stitches are required and the healing process can be painful. Laser surgery is a more comfortable alternative in most cases.
A laser is able to remove the infected gum tissue, and make it easier to remove the tartar from the roots, without cutting the gums. It is less invasive than traditional gum surgery, and healing time is much shorter.
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