Gum Disease Treatment
Most patients seek a Periodontist on the referral of their general dentist. Together, we will create a plan to combat infection in your gums and help restore your teeth to health.
Preventing Gum Disease
Did you know that gum disease is often a painless condition, making it sometimes quite hard to detect? That may be why over half the adult population has some degree of this chronic disorder, making it one of the more subtle and common illnesses to plague Americans. While it may seem like a minor inconvenience at worst, it is far worse than that. Gum disease can lead to a wide variety of dangerous complications, including tooth loss, heart attack, stroke, and death. We here at University Periodontal Associates strongly advise that you take good care of your teeth to prevent gum disease, but once it forms, you may need medical intervention from us to help you manage it.
What to Expect at your Periodontal AppointmentThe reasons for your being referred to a periodontist will differ with each patient. The first appointment will be to gather information, both of your whole medical well being and of the specific periodontal issue.
It is important to inform our office of any medical problems, even if they seem irrelevant to you, as surprisingly many diseases can be linked to your mouth and gums. We will also need a list of any medications, including oral contraceptives or antihypertensive medications, as some may have effects on your teeth and gums, or alter our course of treatment.
Even if an evaluation has been done by your family dentist, Dr. Dennison will perform a complete examination. At your initial visit, we will learn more about each other, answer any questions, determine what treatment is needed, and discuss what your options are.
During your examination, Dr. Dennison will evaluate your:
|•||entire head, including your neck, bite and jaw joints|
|•||the oral cavity and throat|
|•||the health of your teeth and gums|
|•||evidence of infection|
|•||progression of infection|
Using x-rays, Dr. Dennison will evaluate your entire mouth, including every tooth, the jaw, and your entire oral structure.
Based on this examination, Dr. Dennison can now create a customized treatment plan. We encourage our patients to ask questions, we want to make sure our plan is clear.
As with any doctor, smokers will be advised to quit smoking. What many may not understand is that smoking increases your risk of periodontal disease, and what's more, it will worsen the disease if you already have it leading to much faster tooth loss and bone loss. Additionally, smoking can slow down the healing process, which is why quitting is very important if gum surgery is needed.
Periodontal Treatment Plan
Treatment plans are based on your need. This may include:
|•||Removing the present infection found in plaque or calculus through Scaling and Root Planing. Scaling is the process of removing infection below the gum line. Our hygienist will use a system that blasts oxygenated bubbles into your gum pockets to remove debris and bacteria. Following this treatment, she will then take a hand scaler tool and manually check to ensure that every bit of infected material is removed. With the source of the infection removed, we will then smooth the roots in a process calling Root Planing. By smoothing the roots, we are creating a surface that is more difficult for bacteria to attach to, helping you avoid more issues in the future.|
|•||Prescribe an anti-bacterial mouthwash. Some patients require a prescription following their Scaling and Root Planing procedure. This will be done under the direction of Dr. Dennison.|
|•||Gum surgery is needed when the gum tissue has been severely damaged. Dr. Dennison is able to surgically rebuild the lost tissue, helping you strengthen your teeth.|
Appointments with Dr. Dennison will vary on the severity of the problem and the amount of work that is needed. All patients will be advised on the best way to care for their gums at home between visits. It requires the work of both the patient and our office to restore your gums to health.
Treating Gum Disease at Home and In-Office
There are two primary types of gum disease that you may have heard about. These include gingivitis, which is the mildest form of the disease, and periodontal disease, which is the more severe type of gum disease.
|•||Gingivitis is also known as “early-stage' gum disease and can be identified by swollen or red gums, blood in your saliva after you brush or floss, bad breath, and receding gums. Once it progresses to the more severe stage, it becomes periodontal disease (or periodontitis).
|•||Periodontitis can be identified by pain when eating (such as when you bite or chew), sensitivity or tenderness in your gums, significant gum pockets, and loose or lost teeth|
You can prevent gum disease from forming by implementing a good oral hygiene regimen. Taking care to brush and floss your teeth regularly can help stop it from occurring. To prevent gum disease, brush your teeth twice a day (preferably morning and night) using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste. Follow your brushing with flossing, and make sure you floss at least once per day and work your dental floss between your teeth to remove all trapped food and plaque. This regimen can not only prevent gum disease from happening, it can also reverse gingivitis.
If your gum disease becomes periodontitis, however, you will need more aggressive treatment to manage it. Periodontitis has no cure and is considered a chronic disease. While most dental appointments include routine cleanings (also known as prophylactic cleanings) and are recommended at six-month intervals, if you have periodontal disease, then you will need more frequent appointments with a deep cleaning. This is called periodontal maintenance, and we advise our patients with advanced gum disease to return to our office every three to four months for a scaling and root planing.
Unlike a regular cleaning, a scaling and root planing is more thorough. This is a two-part procedure. We will start with scaling, which includes removing all the calculus (hardened buildup) and bacteria from your teeth. Next, we will perform a root planing. This involves smoothing down the surface of your tooth root. Because your tooth is smoothed down, this will make it harder for the bacteria to reattach to your tooth. This also gives your gums a surface to reattach to, helping to reduce the depth of your gum pockets and prevent your receding gums from worsening.
Contact Us Today
Preventing and treating gum disease requires teamwork. You need to do your part at home by taking good care of your teeth and scheduling regular appointments at our office. Our job is to help keep your teeth and gums healthy in our office and teach you the skills to take care of your mouth at home. If it has been longer than six months since your last dental exam, or to learn more about gum disease and treating it, please give us here at University Periodontal Associates a call today at (832) 975-0990!