Periodontal Therapy For Healthy Gums

Periodontal disease, often called gum disease, is an inflammation of the gums that results in the destruction of bone and connective tissue surrounding the teeth. It is a progressive disease which, if left untreated, can worsen and cause damage to your gums, teeth, and surrounding bone, potentially resulting in the loss of teeth. If signs of gum disease are detected, the doctors at Lawhead Family Dentistry offer periodontal therapy procedures that will help you restore your gums to a healthy state.

Stages Of Gum Disease

Periodontal disease is a persistent infection of the gums that becomes more severe over time. The condition is often accompanied by inflammation and redness of the gum tissue around the teeth. If the condition is left untreated, it will gradually progress and can cause severe damage to the bones and tissues of the mouth, including tooth loss.

  • Gingivitis: The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis. This stage is the most common form of gum disease, and is the result of the build-up of bacteria, often called plaque, along the edge of the gums where they meet the teeth. The symptoms of gingivitis include gums that are irritated, puffy and swollen, and red. Individuals with gingivitis often experience bleeding of the gums when they brush or floss.
  • Early Periodontitis: In some patients, gingivitis that is untreated can progress over time into the more severe stage of gum disease called early periodontitis. Early periodontitis occurs when the bacteria from the plaque build-up advances below the gum line and forms calcified deposits called calculus (tartar). Over time, the bacteria in this plaque and tartar trigger an immune response by the body that results in damage to the ligament that connects the tooth to the gums, resulting in deeper pockets. This process is called attachment loss.
  • Advanced Periodontitis: If left untreated, the chronic inflammation triggered by the buildup of plaque, bacteria, and toxins under the gum line will result in the progressive destruction of connective tissue and bone that support the teeth. When this tissue breaks down, deeper pockets are formed and even more bacteria accumulate, causing even more inflammation and tissue destruction. Eventually, the disease can progress to the point that teeth become mobile or even fall out due to bone loss.

Once this damage to the bone surrounding the tooth has occurred, it cannot be undone. This makes it very important to intervene with therapy designed for gum disease as as soon as possible to prevent significant and permanent damage.

Periodontal Therapy Procedures

The therapy treatment plan for gum disease will be determined by the results of a comprehensive oral examination and an in-depth conversation with the dentist. The goal of periodontal therapy is to eliminate inflammation by removing the bacteria, plaque, and tartar that are causing it. Depending on the stage and severity of the periodontal disease, therapy options range from deep cleanings to remove excessive plaque buildup from below the gum line to referral to a specialist for surgical therapy.

At Lawhead Family Dentistry, our first defense against the early stages of gum disease is Scaling and Root Planing. Scaling and root planning is a common deep-cleaning procedure where hand scalers and ultrasonic tools are used to remove the plaque and bacteria that is building up under the gum line. Local anesthetic is used so that the patient is comfortable during the procedure.

If a patient presents with advanced periodontal disease or does not respond to scaling and root planing, recommendation for a referral to a Periodontal specialist may be considered for the patient.

Maintaining Healthy Gums

The best way to avoid gum disease is to maintain healthy teeth and gums through the daily practice of good oral hygiene habits. The main cause of gum disease is the buildup of plaque along the gum line. Daily brushing and flossing is an effective step in preventing the buildup of plaque. Teeth should be brushed at least twice a day, and is encouraged after meals that include high sugar food or drinks. Flossing once a day helps to remove the buildup of plaque between teeth where a toothbrush cannot reach. Through the daily practice of good oral hygiene and maintaining regular dental cleanings, gum disease can be controlled, and even prevented.

If you are experiencing any symptoms of gum disease such as bleeding on brushing, mobile teeth, or poor taste in your mouth, schedule an appointment with Dr. Carlin or Dr. Chris at Lawhead Family Dentistry.