Healthy gums are the key to maintaining strong healthy teeth for a lifetime.
Assessment – We do full mouth gum pocket measurements and carefully examine the gums for signs of bleeding, infection, tissue health and tooth mobility. Then an individualized treatment plan is designed to meet your needs.
Scaling and root planning – a thorough cleaning of your teeth can yield remarkable improvements in measures of gum health.
Up to 80 percent of the population unknowingly has some form of gum disease or ‘periodontal disease’.
Characterized by a persistent bacterial infection surrounding the teeth, periodontal disease causes little or no discomfort and produces few obvious symptoms in the early stages. When periodontal disease is not treated, it can spread and compromise gums, teeth and supportive bone. Gum disease has also been associated with heart disease and strokes as well as complications for diabetics and pregnant women.
Any of the following conditions greatly exacerbate the risk of periodontal disease: smoking, tobacco use, hormone fluctuations, stress, some medications, bruxism, tooth grinding, diabetes, poor nutrition, HIV and other immunosuppressive conditions or medications, heredity and poor oral hygiene. Even patients who practice good oral home care routines can get periodontal disease if the conditions are right. Gums irritated by bacteria can recede away from the root surfaces of the teeth, creating deep pockets where more bacteria can lurk.
TREATING PERIODONTAL DISEASE
Early on, when redness, swelling, and bleeding are the only symptoms, we can treat and reverse gum disease non-surgically. Regular checkups greatly increase the likelihood of early detection and conservative treatment. Generally, treatment will include careful, individualized instruction regarding the most effective means of brushing and flossing at home. This strategy is accompanied by professional removal (dental term is root scaling and planing) of plaque and tartar from all affected tooth surfaces and gum pocket irrigation. Normally, patients experience significant improvement as long as treatment is started early.
If gum disease becomes advanced, or does not respond well to conventional treatment, surgery may be needed to remediate the disease and restore the mouth to good oral health. In these cases, you will be referred to a periodontist (gum specialist) for surgical treatments such as pocket depth reduction, bone or tissue regeneration, and soft tissue grafting. The goal of these procedures is to improve your chances of keeping your teeth for life.