Periodontal Disease Treatment (Gum Disease)
Gum disease is a serious condition that affects people from all walks of life. Our dentistry provides periodontal services for all stages of gum disease to restore your oral health.
Periodontal disease, gum disease, and periodontitis all describe an infection in the gingiva (gums) and bone around your teeth. Since we rely on healthy structures to keep our tooth roots intact, it’s essential that signs of gum disease are identified as early as possible. Think of it as like the foundation for your house – a house built on a poor foundation is not meant to last.
Gingivitis is the earliest sign that there’s a problem and shows up, typically, as minor redness, swelling, or bleeding while brushing and flossing. If not treated with improved daily home care and regular, professional cleanings, that infection can spread down the roots of your teeth leading to bone loss and loose teeth. Your hygienist will cover in great depth how your gums look and what needs to be done to make them healthy and keep them healthy.
What are the signs of periodontal disease or gum disease?
The earliest sign of periodontitis is an irritated gum line that might present some discomfort or bleeding when you brush, floss or have your teeth cleaned professionally. If not treated, the gums will start to retract and pull away from the teeth. This creates spaces between the teeth and gums called periodontal pockets that can quickly become filled with harmful bacteria which can cause loss of the bone keeping your teeth anchored in place. Your dentist will typically measure the depths of these pockets to determine how far the condition has spread and what treatment is needed to correct the problem. If gum disease eventually makes its way down to the jawbone and the connective tissues of teeth, the jawbone can deteriorate, and teeth can be lost.
Some of the most common symptoms of periodontal disease include:
- Gum recession
- “Long teeth”
- Tooth mobility (loose tooth/movement)
- Sore teeth when you chew/bite
- Spaces between teeth
- Deep pockets under your gums
- Visible bone loss on X-rays
- Heavy tartar buildup
- Bad breath
- Bleeding when you brush and floss
- Swollen, red gums
Please keep in mind that if you smoke, vape, or use tobacco products, you may not see the same symptoms as someone who doesn’t. Your tissues could look “healthy” due to the lack of bleeding or swelling, even if the disease is present.
How is periodontal disease or gum disease treated?
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is effectively treated in two ways. Which treatment you receive depends on the severity of the gum disease.
Scaling and root planing are recognized as the treatment of choice and standard care for periodontitis. The procedure is highly effective in managing the condition in its early to moderate stages. It also does an excellent job of preventing gum and bone loss from continuing to progress once it’s begun. When providing scaling and root planing treatment, your dentist will access the areas below the gum line and between the teeth and remove harmful accumulations of plaque, tartar and oral bacteria. Then the root surfaces will be smoothed out to prevent future accumulations. Your gums should then begin the healing process and eventually reattach themselves to the teeth.
The second treatment is called bone grafting and is often required when bacteria and plaque have reached the jawbone and caused some amount of deterioration and decay. Your dentist must surgically access the damaged jawbone in order to regenerate it. This is accomplished by applying proteins and artificial bone-like material to the areas of decay. This will help encourage new bone growth. Bone grafting is often a necessary step for strengthening the jawbone so that it can support dental implants to replace missing teeth.Gum Disease Treatment Aftercare
How do I know if I have periodontal disease or gum disease?
The first signs of periodontal disease or gum disease are red and swollen gums, gums that bleed when you floss or brush, sensitive gums, and a generalized feeling of soreness in your gums. More advanced signs of gum disease include loss of gum and bone around the teeth resulting in exposure of your tooth’s root. Periodontitis, or gum disease, can lead to tooth loss if not treated properly.
What causes gum disease?
There are three main types of gum disease. The first and most common is chronic periodontitis. This occurs when oral hygiene is neglected and bacteria accumulate beneath the gum line, eventually turning into a hard substance called tartar. Tartar is not easily removed by brushing and flossing and requires professional cleaning. If left untreated the gums become inflamed, damaged and bone loss occurs. The second cause is aggressive periodontitis, this is believed to have a genetic component as it shows up in a small number of families. It moves quickly and can be very destructive. It can even be seen in children. The last and the rarest cause is necrotizing periodontal disease. This can occur in people with immune issues and/or chronic diseases. The soft tissues and bone die off due to the body’s inability to heal properly. Typically, these can be seen in patients with HIV/AIDS or people that take drugs long-term that suppress the immune system.
What is gum recession?
Receding gums affect about half of Americans over the age of 50. But, young people can experience gum recession too. You may be genetically predisposed to gum recession. Some people are born with thin gums. Other times the environment might contribute to recession. Things like aggressive brushing, trauma, surgery, or ill-fitting partials can cause recession.
Treatment of Gum Recession
If you notice a tooth looks long or you experience sensitivity or pain when brushing and flossing, you could have gum recession. Be sure to come in and have one of the doctor’s take a look. If you have recession we can typically graft a small amount of skin from your palate and patch it over the receding area. The treatment helps protect the tooth from further damage. It is a minor procedure that can be done for a single tooth or multiple teeth depending on your need.
If you have any questions about periodontal disease (gum disease) treatment please contact our office and we will be happy to answer any questions.