Our office offers limited periodontal treatment. Periodontics is a specialized type of dentistry that treats gums, bones, and ligaments around the teeth. In our office, we can provide diagnosis and some treatment, and will refer patients to a specialist for in-depth or surgical care.
Bacterial infection of the gums and bones is diagnosed as periodontal disease. Untreated, this can lead to tooth loss. Recent research has indicated that periodontal disease can also lead to increases in overall health issues such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory diseases, osteoporosis, and more.
Factors that predispose individuals to periodontal disease include: genetics, poor nutrition, some medications, stress, tobacco use, poor oral hygiene, and hormonal changes in puberty or pregnancy.
Early stages of periodontal disease are manifested as gingivitis: an irritation of the gums. Untreated, this will advance and cause major problems.
Plaque, the sticky film on the teeth that can make them feel “fuzzy” can be removed by good brushing and flossing habits. If plaque remains, it can lead to calculus. This is basically hardened plaque. Once plaque has progressed to calculus, it must be removed by a dentist with scaling.
Our office provides deep scaling for removal of calculus. This can be considered a very deep cleaning, especially around the edges of the gums to remove the plaque and calculus. A scaler or ultrasonic tool is used for deep cleaning the affected areas.
Beyond Deep Scaling
Root planing is a more involved procedure, done by a periodontist. Root planing is needed when there are pockets formed in the gums due to the buildup of calculus. Anesthesia may be offered and a topical antibiotic may be applied to treat infection. Further appointments will be needed for ongoing evaluation and maintenance of the gums.
Severe cases of periodontal disease may require laser treatments, gum graft surgeries, crown lengthening, dental implants or other surgical procedures to treat the affected gums.
These more severe cases require treatment by a specialist called a periodontist. These specialists have earned degrees based on additional schooling for the specific treatment of gum disease.
Prevent Gum Disease
Prevent Gum Disease The best way to deal with gum disease is to prevent it from occurring. Prevention techniques include:
- Brush your teeth and tongue at least twice daily. Brush for at least two minutes.
- Do not brush too hard. This can damage gum tissue. Brush gently at a 45 degree angle with a soft bristle toothbrush. Do not use a medium or hard bristled toothbrush.
- Replace your toothbrush every 2-3 months. After that, they have too much bacteria on them.
- Floss thoroughly at least once per day to remove debris from between teeth.
- Use fluoride mouthwash to ensure that any missed food particles are removed.
- Avoid risks. Talk to your dentist about your individual risks and how to minimize your chances for developing periodontitis.
- Decrease the sugar in your diet. Sugar sticks to the plaque on teeth and gums.
- Stay hydrated. In combination with the health benefits, the water will keep your mouth flushed and your teeth will accumulate less plaque.
- If you are diagnosed with periodontal disease, see a periodontist for a complete evaluation of your gums and the surrounding bones and tissues.