Did you know that, according to the American Dental Association, an estimated 75% of Americans over the age of 35 have some form of gum disease? This silent, yet prevalent disease can be quite problematic, not just for your gums but for your overall health as well. Should the disease progress, it can lead to other very serious issues such as respiratory illness, heart disease, stroke, and even complications with pregnancy. Southshore Family Dentistry is proud to have a leading periodontics department that can identify your symptoms and provide you with expert care.
Our treatment methods will vary depending on the stage and severity of the illness that has affected your gums. Here are a few procedures you might expect if you’re experiencing gum disease.
- Deep Cleaning (Scaling and Root Planing) – This non-surgical treatment method allows us to remove plaque and tartar from deep within the gum tissues. Then, we will thoroughly clean your gum tissue and surrounding areas, including the dental enamel, roots, and gum pockets. By doing so, we can eliminate the cause of infection and restore your gums back to health.
- Pocket Depth Reduction – If your symptoms have progressed to a point of requiring surgical intervention, this may be a treatment method that could help. During this procedure, we will fold the gum tissue back to remove bacteria that is hidden within the gum pockets and eliminate infection. After the removal, the dentists sew the healthy tissue back into place. The tooth and root are now free of bacteria, plaque, and tartar, and the pockets have been reduced. The gums can soon reattach to the teeth.
- Regeneration – If the bone and tissue supporting the teeth have been lost due to severe gum disease, our dentists can restore these areas with a regeneration procedure. In this process, we start by folding back the gum tissue and removing the bacteria, plaque, and tartar. Based on your situation, we can perform a bone graft to bring new bone growth. We may apply a special kind of protein that stimulates tissue growth to repair the damaged areas.
- Soft-tissue Graft – A common symptom of gum disease is gum recession or gingival recession. If the gums recede, more of the roots are exposed and can make teeth appear longer. This can also cause sensitivity to hot or cold liquids or food. It also exposes the tooth to increased damage from gum disease, as bacteria, plaque, and tartar attack the surface of the tooth and the root. In a soft-tissue graft, tissue from the top of your mouth or another source is sewn to the gum area. This covers the roots and restoring the gum line to its original, healthy location. The procedure can also be performed for cosmetic reasons.
Learn More About Our Non-Surgical Treatments
Defense against gum disease needs a unique type of cleaning called scaling and root planing. The procedure involves using an ultrasonic cleaning device to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth where normal cleaning devices are unreachable such as under the gum line, on the tooth, and around the root.
The rough surface of the tooth and the root are smoothed out or planed. The process helps to get a healthy, clean surface, making it easier for the gum tissue to reattach to the tooth.
When you address your gum disease before it becomes severe, scaling and root planing are perhaps the only treatments you need. But after-care is always vital. To keep your teeth in good condition and prevent future occurrences of gum disease, brush and floss your teeth daily.
You should also eat a healthy diet, avoid chewing tobacco, and have regular dental checkups. Even after a successful scaling and root planing, you can get gum disease again if you don’t attend to your teeth properly.
Identifying Your Risk of Gum Disease
Like any illness, it is important to identify gum disease early in order to prevent the issue from progressing. In its earliest stages, gum disease begins as an infection of the gums known as gingivitis. As the disease advances, it can affect the jaw bone, teeth, and even your overall health. The key to addressing periodontal disease is prevention. It is important to know your risk of periodontal disease to ensure that you diligently care for your gums and make routine visits to the dentist to receive a professional cleaning. If you experience any of the following risk factors for gum disease, you may have a higher chance of experiencing some form of this illness:
- Buildup of dental plaque
- Poor nutrition
- Smoking and/or using tobacco products
- Genetic predisposition to gum disease
- Chronic stress
- Hormonal fluctuations
- Bruxism (teeth grinding)
If you’ve identified yourself as high risk for gum disease, or if you’ve noticed bleeding or inflammation of the gums, call our offices straight away. We will help to identify the issue and bring your gums back to good health.