Fight Gum Disease with Periodontal Therapy
Periodontal is a combination of the Latin words “perio” around and “odont” tooth. Periodontal disease, more commonly referred to as gum disease, is the inflammation, infection, or damage of tissues around the teeth. In the earliest stages, gingivitis, symptoms are relatively mild, and many patients don’t even notice any changes in their oral health. However, left untreated, gingivitis may develop into the more severe, periodontitis. To find out more about periodontal disease and its treatments, keep reading or contact our knowledgeable team today.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease occurs when plaque and tartar buildup at the gum line. This acidic biofilm irritates the soft tissue leading to inflammation or infection. Over time, the tissue breaks down creating a larger gap between teeth and gums, which allows even more plaque and tartar to buildup.
What are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?
In the early stages, symptoms are as mild as light bleeding while flossing and slightly discolored soft tissue, but as gum disease advances, the symptoms become more severe and may include:
- Gums bleeding during brushing, flossing, or eating
- Gum tissue recession, teeth that look longer
- Chronic bad breathe, halitosis
- Teeth that shift or a bite that does not fit together properly
- Tooth loss
How is Gum Disease Treated?
It’s very important that patients inform the dentist right away, if they notice any of the warning signs of gum disease. When diagnosed in the beginning stages, treatment may be as simple as scheduling more frequent professional teeth cleanings and making minor changes in at-home care. However, periodontitis requires more extensive treatment, and while we can improve oral health for those who suffer from advanced gum disease, this chronic condition is never truly cured once it reaches this stage. Treatment for advanced gum disease may include any combination of the following therapies:
- Scaling – the systematic removal of plaque, tartar, and damaged tissue from the roots of teeth
- Root planning – smoothing of tooth roots to make it more difficult for plaque and tartar to attach to teeth minimizing buildup on even the hardest to reach surfaces of teeth
- Antibiotic therapy – bacteria living in the mouth excrete plaque, so applying topical antibiotics to reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth decreases the production of plaque
- Flap/osseous therapy – sometimes, we’ll need to pull the gum tissue back to fully access and treat the roots and supportive bone structures, remove plaque and tartar, and reshape bone to simplify maintenance in our office and at home
- Guided tissue regeneration – in order to restore the connective tissue between teeth and gums, we may need to place a membrane that promotes healing and reattachment
Can I Prevent Periodontal Disease?
Working in partnership with Dr. Kwon and his team, gum disease is almost always preventable. Keep in mind the following tips to keep your whole mouth healthy and prevent periodontal disease:
- Brush teeth at least two minutes at a time at least twice a day
- If you suffer from periodontal disease, consider brushing or using an antimicrobial mouth rinse about 30 minutes after eating to reduce plaque production
- Brush teeth systematically – not randomly – to ensure every tooth and tooth surface receives adequate care
- Floss at least once each day taking care to guide the floss all the way to the gum line
- Limit consumption of sticky, sugary, or acidic foods and drinks
- Visit the dentist at least two times every year for preventive dental checkups