Periodontal (Gum) Therapy • Silverdale, WA

Periodontal (Gum) Therapy

Periodontal (Gum) Therapy

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth. There is a very shallow v-shaped crevice called a sulcus between the tooth and gums. Periodontal diseases attack just below the gum line in the sulcus, causing the attachment of the tooth and it’s supporting tissues to break down. As the damage occurs, the sulcus develops into a pocket. The depth of the pocket depends on the severity of the disease. As the disease becomes more severe, the depth of the pocket increases.

Types of Periodontal Diseases

Gingivitis

  • The mildest form of periodontal disease
  • Gums become red, swollen, and bleed easily
  • Causes almost no pain
  • Professional treatment and good oral care can fix gingivitis
  • If left untreated, may lead to Periodontitis

Chronic Periodontitis

Most commonly found form of periodontitis:

  • Results in inflammation within the supporting tissues of the teeth, with progressive loss of tissue attachment and bone
  • Signs: pocket formation and/or recession of gum tissue
  • Tissue attachment loss usually happens slowly, but faster progression can occur

Aggressive Periodontitis

  • Very destructive form of periodontal disease
  • Appears in patients who are normally healthy
  • Signs: rapid loss of tissue attachment and destruction of bone

Periodontitis caused by Systemic Diseases

  • Associated with some systemic diseases, such as diabetes
  • This form also shows up frequently in patients who have rare blood diseases or genetic disorders

Necrotizing Periodontal Diseases

  • Signs: pain, bleeding, and a foul odor
  • Description: infections showing necrosis (death) of gingival tissues,periodontal ligament and alveolar bone
  • Can be caused by emotional stress, tobacco use and HIV

What Causes Periodontal Disease?

Factors that increase the risk of periodontal disease:

  • Tobacco smoking or chewing
  • Systemic diseases such as diabetes
  • Some types of medication such as steroids, blood pressure medications, anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers and oral contraceptives
  • Bridges that no longer fit right
  • Crooked or crowded teeth
  • Defective fillings
  • Pregnancy

Warning signs of Periodontal Diseases:

  • Red, swollen, tender gums or gums that bleed easily
  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • Teeth that seem to be separating
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste
  • Loose teeth
  • Change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • Change in the fit of partial dentures

Diagnosing Periodontal Diseases

When your dentist examines your gums during your routine check-up it is called a periodontal examination. The dentist will use a periodontal probe to measure the depth of the sulcus around each tooth. The depth of a healthy sulcus should be around three millimeters or less. The periodontal exam will indicate the development of any pockets and the depth of them. Typically, as the disease becomes more severe, the depth of the pocket increases. Your dentist may take dental X-rays to examine the amount of bone supporting the teeth and to find other problems not visible without an X-ray.

Treatment for Periodontal Diseases

If the periodontal disease, gingivitis, is caught early and with no sign of damage, your dentist may not need to do any treatment and instead will just explain how to improve your oral hygiene. For more severe forms of Periodontal Disease, different treatments may be used.

If the disease has progressed, the first step would be a unique cleaning, called scaling and root planning (also called a periodontal or deep cleaning) which may take more than one visit. This cleaning removes plaque and tartar deposits on the tooth and root surfaces, which helps gum tissue to heal and pockets to reduce in size.

You may be advised to take medications in the form of pills or a mouth rinse to help lessen the chance of infection and pain, and to help with healing. Sometimes the dentist uses a substance which is placed in the periodontal pocket after the deep cleaning.

If, at your next appointment after the scaling and root planing visit, the disease has advanced and the periodontal pockets are still deep and the supporting bone is lost, surgery may be the next step.

Periodontal Surgery

During surgery the dentist will removal tartar and plaque that could not otherwise be reached. Then the gums will be sutured back into a new position to make tissue snug around the tooth. Bone surgery, including bone grafts, may be necessary to rebuild or reshape destroyed bone.

During the healing process, loose teeth may be stabilized and tissue regenerated with the use of splints or bite guards. A gum graft may be needed if a lot of gum tissue has been lost.

After surgery, your dentist may put a protective dressing over your teeth and gums and a mouth rinse, an antibiotic, and a pain reliever may be prescribed to aid in healing.

How can I prevent periodontal (gum) disease?

To prevent periodontal disease take good care of your teeth every day and have regular dental checkups at least once every 6 months.

Tips to Keep Gums Healthy

  • Brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day – Brushing thoroughly twice a day will remove bacteria from the teeth.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush that is not worn. Use toothpaste and a mouth rinse with fluoride to strengthen the teeth and help prevent decay.
  • Floss between your teeth every day. – Use floss or an interdental cleaner, to clean between your teeth to remove bacteria and food particles. Early gum disease can usually be fixed with daily brushing and flossing.
  • Eat a balanced diet. – Avoid snacking between meals and choose a healthy variety of foods from the basic food groups.
  • Visit your dentist every 6 months. – Professional dental cleaning is essential in preventing periodontal diseases.
  • Warning – Remember that it is possible to have no warning signs of periodontal disease. If these periodontal diseases go untreated they may eventually lead to tooth loss.
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