Periodontal disease is the major dental problem for adults in the United States. It affects approximately 70% of all adults over the age of 30 and can lead to tooth loss.
Periodontal disease requires a detailed diagnosis in the general dentist office and then, at that point, if there is a problem, it can either be treated in the general dentist office. Usually, they do scaling and root planings and if the problem continues to get worse, they usually refer you to a periodontist.
When a patient comes into our office, they go through first an introductory appointment to review their medical history because there are some factors in their medical history that may potentiate the disease, especially if they're on certain medications or they have a weakened immune system.
We also do a radiographic analysis of their dentition and then do a clinical examination on the first day. With the clinical examination, we do detailed probings to give us pocket depths because for years, and years and years, that's been kind of the barometer in which we judge the level of periodontal disease that they have or the categorization, whether it's mild, moderate or severe. And we tell them you can be all of them in the same mouth. So that's the reason for the detailed pinpoint examination.
We also look at mobility of the teeth because with periodontal disease, you're getting structural loss and support loss around the root of the tooth. So if it goes far enough, the teeth start to become mobile. So if the teeth are too mobile, we can't save them. But again, it may be isolated to certain teeth. It doesn't have to be generalized so, again, the reason for the detailed specific examination of each tooth.
The most important person in the prevention of periodontal disease is the patient. We try to do everything here at Periodontal Associates of Jackson to educate and motivate patients to do proper home care.