We provide periodontal (gum) therapy for patients who need a little extra care to achieve and maintain healthy gums and clean teeth. Periodontal disease is an infection that affects the gums and bone around one tooth or many teeth. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss. It has also been linked to other serious health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, and stroke. If you have any degree of periodontal disease, we want to help. Your oral health is important to us.
Signs of gum disease can include:
- Bleeding gums
- Puffy, red, and sore gum tissues
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth possibly related to loss of bone around the teeth
What is Gum (Periodontal) Disease?
Periodontal disease is most often preceded by gingivitis which is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue. A bacterial infection affects the gums when the toxins contained in plaque begin to irritate and inflame the gum tissues. Once this bacterial infection colonizes in the gum pockets between the teeth, it becomes much more difficult to remove and treat. Periodontal disease is a progressive condition that eventually leads to the destruction of the connective tissue and jawbone. If left untreated, it can lead to shifting teeth, loose teeth and eventually tooth loss.
Types of Periodontal Diseases
Gingivitis is a mild, often reversible form of periodontal disease. It develops as toxins in plaque irritate the gums, making them red, tender, swollen and likely to bleed easily. It can usually be eliminated by daily brushing, cleaning between teeth and regular dental cleanings and checkups. Gingivitis may lead to more serious, destructive forms of periodontal disease, called Periodontitis. This occurs when toxins destroy the tissues that anchor teeth into bone. The gums detach from teeth and form pockets.
Preventing Periodontal Diseases
Brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Choose a soft-bristled toothbrush and replace it every three to four months. Carefully clean between teeth with dental floss or other special cleaners for between the teeth to remove plaque from areas your toothbrush can’t reach. Eat a balanced diet and schedule regular dental check-ups.
Treatment for Periodontal Disease
There are many surgical and nonsurgical treatments the periodontist may choose to perform, depending upon the exact condition of the teeth, gums and jawbone. A complete periodontal exam of the mouth will be done before any treatment is performed or recommended.
Here are some of the more common treatments for periodontal disease:
Scaling and root planing – In order to preserve the health of the gum tissue, the bacteria and calculus (tartar) which initially caused the infection, must be removed. The gum pockets will be cleaned and treated with antibiotics as necessary to help alleviate the infection. A prescription mouthwash may be incorporated into daily cleaning routines.
Tissue regeneration – When the bone and gum tissues have been destroyed, regrowth can be actively encouraged using grafting procedures. A membrane may be inserted into the affected areas to assist in the regeneration process.
Pocket elimination surgery – Pocket elimination surgery (also known as flap surgery) is a surgical treatment which can be performed to reduce the pocket size between the teeth and gums. Surgery on the jawbone is another option which serves to eliminate indentations in the bone which foster the colonization of bacteria.
Dental implants – When teeth have been lost due to periodontal disease, the aesthetics and functionality of the mouth can be restored by implanting prosthetic teeth into the jawbone. Tissue regeneration procedures may be required prior to the placement of a dental implant in order to strengthen the bone.