Periodontal Disease and Pulpitis: The Link
Gum disease and pulpal infections are both unpleasant on their own, but did you know that they are linked? Many people don’t realize that one condition often leads to another, and that makes oral care even more important! We have all sorts of information about the connection between gum disease and pulpitis, so read on!
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal (gum) disease is the infection of the gum tissue, and is a more severe version of gingivitis. Plaque buildup hardens and forms tartar, or calculus, a substance that irritates the gums and can only be removed with the assistance of dental instruments. As gum disease progresses, tooth loss and jawbone deterioration is common.
What is pulpitis?
Pulpitis is the infection of the tooth’s pulp, which is made up of blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue. Pulpal infection is typically caused by cavities that penetrate the enamel. It can also be caused by trauma that cuts off blood flow to the pulp tissue.
How are periodontal disease and pulpitis related?
The apical foramen is the opening at the apex, or tip, of the tooth root. Nerves and blood vessels pass through this hole and connect the pulp inside the tooth to the gum tissue. Because the pulp and the gum are so closely linked, periodontal disease can progress into pulpitis and vice versa.
What are my treatment options?
Scaling and root planing, also known as root debridement therapy, is a traditional gum disease treatment. Root debridement uses ultrasonic dental instruments to remove the tartar that causes gum disease. Unlike standard dental cleanings, which only remove surface plaque, root debridement therapy targets the tartar below the gum line in the pockets that form between the teeth and gums.
Laser periodontal therapy is a more advanced gum disease treatment. It’s a minimally invasive procedure that targets only the diseased gum and promotes natural healing, agitating the gum tissue so it reattaches itself to the jawbone. It provides faster results with less downtime, bleeding, swelling, and discomfort.
Root canal therapy (RCT) is the best treatment for pulpitis. It removes the diseased pulp from the root canals, and then uses a crown to stabilize the tooth. Extraction is an option for diseased teeth that root canal therapy can’t save.
One thing leads to another: a single dental issue could compromise your overall oral health. That’s why we offer state-of-the-art treatment options to keep all aspects of your oral hygiene on track. Give Dominik Dubravec, DDS, MMSc a call to find out more about our treatment methods!