Diagnosing and treating gum disease

Except for bad breath and bleeding gums, there are very few early warning signals. The disease advances silently, often without pain, and before you know it, you are losing your teeth and you don’t know why!

Though teenagers can experience an early stage of gum disease, periodontitis is mainly seen in the adult population. In fact, a shocking 75% of adults suffer from gingivitis or more severe periodontal (gum) disease. Once diagnosed with gum disease, brushing and flossing won’t cure the infection. Treatment is needed to properly clean out the accumulated bacterium that has developed in the gums. Take the next step to a healthier mouth today!

Periodontal, or gum, disease is insidious. It is an infection of the gums that starts out as plaque, an opaque film on the teeth that hardens to form tartar. As tartar accumulates, it harbors bacteria that attack the soft tissue around the gums. This early stage of gum disease is known as Gingivitis. When left untreated, Gingivitis becomes Periodontitis which ultimately destroys the tissue surrounding your teeth AND the bone that holds your teeth in place.

Scientific research has discovered linkage between gum disease and stroke, heart disease, diabetes – even an increased risk for pregnant women. When your gums become diseased, your entire immune system is weakened.

Periodontal treatment options

Scaling & Root Planing

Gingivitis is easily treated by having the hygienist scale and polish the teeth. If gingivitis is left untreated, the condition will progress and the roots will need a planing. The difference between scaling and root planing is simple. Scaling is the removal of the dental tartar from the tooth surface. Root planing is the process of smoothening the root surfaces and removing the infected tooth structure.

As a non-surgical procedure, scaling and planing is performed without any anesthesia. While the procedure is usually painless, advanced stages of gingivitis may make it necessary to numb the area for complete comfort. Deep scaling and root planing is usually broken down into one section of the mouth per appointment. This allows for adequate healing time and reduces the time for each appointment.

Osseous Surgery – Pocket Reduction

Sometimes the effects of periodontal disease create permanent changes in the tooth and gum structure that cause issues in the future. Enlarged gum pockets between the tooth and the gum line are common after having advanced gum disease. Sometimes these gaps are cosmetic in nature and affect the appearance of the gums. More commonly, the gaps put the teeth at future risk for tooth and gum disease, as they become one more place that plaque and bacteria can collect. Pocket reduction surgery is designed to thwart the after-effects of periodontal disease and restore your mouth to a healthy state.

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