Periodontics involves the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. At our dental office, we will gently evaluate your gums and overall oral health, and if necessary, will make recommendations for treatment.
Periodontics involves the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is an inflammation and infection of the gum tissues. It includes the stages commonly known as gingivitis and periodontitis. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
When plaque and tartar are left untreated on teeth and gums, gum disease may develop. You can reduce your risk of gum disease by brushing twice and flossing once every day. You should also have a dental exam and professional cleaning at least twice each year.
Gingivitis includes a variety of mild to moderate symptoms, such as:
- Red, swollen gums
- Sensitive teeth
- Gums bleeding from normal brushing or eating
- Chronic halitosis (bad breath)
- Difficulty or pain chewing
Periodontitis is a more advanced form of gum disease. In this case, gums begin to pull away from teeth, creating small “pockets” along the gum line. Tooth loss, bone loss, and damage to gums and soft tissues can occur with periodontitis.
The most common treatment for gum disease is known as deep cleaning or scaling and root planing. Our hygienist can perform this gentle and effective removal of tartar, calculus, and infected tissue.
Common risk factors for gum disease include poor oral hygiene habits, diabetes, smoking, and hormonal changes. Some medications can also increase your likelihood of developing gum disease. Many recent studies have found that untreated gum disease negatively impacts other aspects of your overall health. This is especially common for patients with cardiovascular disease or diabetes.
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Periodontal disease ranges from a mild inflammation of the gum tissues to periodontitis, a major oral disease that can result in soft tissue and bone damage. Periodontitis is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the United States.
One of the major causes of gum disease is practicing poor oral hygiene habits. Daily brushing and flossing and regular professional exams and cleanings are essential to maintaining optimal oral health. When these Trobough Dentals are not followed, plaque can form on the teeth and along the gumline. If this plaque is not properly removed, it may harden over time and become tartar. Once that occurs, only a dental professional can remove the tartar from teeth.
If gum disease is not treated in a timely manner, tartar may continue to build unchecked. When this occurs, the gum disease may advance to gingivitis. In this stage, gums redden, swell, and become prone to bleeding from normal activities, such as brushing or eating. Some other common symptoms include: chronic halitosis (bad breath), sensitive teeth, and difficulty or pain with chewing. At this point, professional periodontal treatment is needed to prevent the gingivitis from advancing to periodontitis.
When gingivitis is not treated in time, it may become periodontitis. Periodontitis is the most advanced form of periodontal disease. With periodontitis, gums begin to pull away from the teeth, creating small “pockets” along the gumline. These spaces are highly difficult to clean without professional intervention and can lead to rapid worsening in overall oral health. Without prompt and thorough treatment, bone, gums, and soft tissues may be destroyed by periodontitis.
Some of the most common factors that contribute to periodontal disease developing include poor oral hygiene habits, diabetes, smoking, and female hormonal changes. Some medications can cause gum tissue to develop abnormal tissues, which can increase difficulty in proper cleaning of the teeth. People who are receiving treatment for AIDS are also at increased risk of developing periodontal disease.
Many recent studies have found that untreated periodontal disease may negatively impact other aspects of your overall health, especially for patients with cardiovascular disease or diabetes.
Our doctor has the training and experience to diagnose and treat every stage of periodontal disease. If you have symptoms of periodontal disease, contact our office to schedule a consultation.
DIAGNOSING PERIODONTAL DISEASE
Periodontal disease is diagnosed by our dentist or hygienist through a series of tests. First, we will check the depth of the gum pockets between your teeth and gums. Next, we will check for inflammation, bleeding, loose teeth, and bone loss. Based on our findings, we will determine the stage of your periodontal disease and recommend your treatment.
Stages of Periodontal Disease
Gingivitis: the first stage of periodontal disease, characterized by inflamed, tender, bleeding gums, and plaque build-up.
Periodontitis: the second stage of periodontal disease, characterized by plaque hardening into calculus (tartar), gum recession, deepening gum pockets, and early stages of bone loss.
Advanced Periodontitis: the final stage of periodontal disease, characterized by destruction of gums, bone, and ligament tissues, loosening and loss of teeth, and more severe bone loss.
TREATMENT OF PERIODONTAL DISEASE
Periodontal disease cannot be fully cured at this time. However, there are a variety of treatment options available. To recommend your particular treatment plan, we will start by employing conservative treatments based on your current stage of periodontal disease. We will follow up with you regularly during treatment to determine whether to continue with your current plan, advance to more aggressive treatment options, or shift into the maintenance care phase of treatment.
Conservative treatment for periodontal disease includes several options:
- Deep cleaning or planing to remove plaque and calculus from your teeth
- Prescription mouth rinse to chemically treat the bacterial infection
- Over-the-counter fluoride treatment to help prevent tooth decay
- Certain toothpastes may assist in disrupting bacteria in the mouth
More aggressive therapy includes surgical options, such as:
- Pocket reduction to reduce the depth of gum pockets
- Bone grafting or bone regeneration to help restore lost bone tissue
- Gum grafting to make thinning gums more resistant to infection or to cover exposed teeth roots
Once periodontal disease treatment has successfully completed, we will shift your treatment to a maintenance care stage to ensure the disease does not recur or progress further.
SCALING AND ROOT PLANING (DEEP CLEANING)
Periodontal disease is very treatable, but cannot be fully cured. If you are diagnosed with periodontal disease, we may recommend a treatment called a “deep cleaning”, better known as scaling and root planing.
With this treatment our dental hygienist or dentist may use a topical or local numbing agent to ensure you are comfortable. During the procedure, we gently remove plaque, bacteria, and tartar that is attached to the root structure and within the deeper periodontal pockets. This helps the tissue to stabilize and heal.
The goal of the procedure is to minimize bleeding and inflammation caused by the bacteria and tartar, while helping to prevent further bone loss and tissue fiber destruction.
After the completion of your scaling and root planing treatment, you will be scheduled for regular ongoing maintenance care. These visits will involve a thorough professional cleaning and monitoring of your oral health to ensure the disease does not recur and progress further.
A frenum (also called frenulum) is a tissue attachment that holds or connects an area such as the tongue, lip or cheek. Occasionally a frenum might be exceptionally tight, thick or short. Frenul pull can contribute to localized areas of gum recession. It can also play a role in creating gaps between teeth.
A frenectomy is a simple surgery to excise the frenum. This procedure generally takes less than fifteen minutes and has minimal postoperative discomfort.
A diastema is a large gap between teeth. A diastema can result from an unusually thick or tight frenum that attaches close to the teeth. Frenectomy, combined with orthodontics, can correct this problem.
Normal tongue motion can be constricted with a tight frenum. This can tug on the gingiva of the lower anterior teeth, creating recession. In severe cases, this may affect speech. Eliminating this attachment can restore proper tongue movements and eliminate gingival pull.
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