In offering a soft tissue management program for periodontal disease, our goal is to control the disease without surgery. It requires working together to slow the progression of the disease and bring it to a hault. This is very much a crucial part of achieving an overall healthy smile.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a bacterial infection of the gums and surrounding tissues that support your teeth. It is caused by the build-up of plaque and tartar when teeth are not routinely brushed and flossed, and regular dental checkups are neglected.
There are two major stages of periodontal disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis affects mainly the gums and is a mild form of gum disease. If properly treated, gingivitis may be reversed. Left untreated, gingivitis progresses into periodontitis. Over time, gum disease can cause gums to pull away from the teeth forming pockets inhabited by bacteria and their toxins. During this more destructive disease stage, bacteria begin to penetrate deeper into the pockets of tissue where bone and membrane support your teeth. A prolonged oral state of periodontitis can lead to tooth loss and potentially serious health problems.
Here are some common signs of gum disease: gums that are red, swollen or bleed when you brush or floss, gums that have pulled away from the teeth, tooth pain or sensitivity, persistent bad breath, and teeth that are loose or develop gaps.
In your periodontal evaluation at our office, the dental hygienist will measure the “pockets” around the affected teeth with a probe to determine how far along bacterial infection has progressed; this along with assessment of your teeth and surrounding tissues- we discuss with you where we stand and the options available.
The most effective type of non-surgical treatment for gum disease is known as scaling and root planing. This procedure involves a removal of plaque and tartar buildup from the teeth, starting at the root surface; the dental hygienist will be removing harmful bacteria and irritants from deep beneath your gums to induce the healing process.
Scaling and root planing is similar to a routine cleaning, however, we reach further beneath the gumline to clear away the toxins causing inflammation. Many times for comfort, the patient will be given a local anesthetic, and the procedure is as follows: removal of all plaque and calculus (tartar) deposits, then smooth the root surface of each tooth to encourage re-attachment of the gum tissue and irrigation of the pockets with an anti-microbial may me necessary. This is regarded as the procedure of choice when eliminating the source of gum problems.
We have found that patients who faithfully adhere to our program can control their gum disease without surgery. If we work as a team, we can prevail against periodontal disease in the most comfortable and least invasive manner possible. This appointment, and at every subsequent visit, we will take the time to explain how you can maintain tissue health at home. Home care in addition to keeping periodontal maintenance appointments, is vital to successful periodontal therapy.
Please do call us if you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with our office.