Periodontal Treatment

Gum Disease and Periodontal Treatment

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease – also called periodontal disease – is simply an infection of the gums around your teeth. It is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults.

Gum disease is caused by a buildup of the sticky bacteria known as plaque. If this plaque is not removed, it continues to build up until it creates toxins which infect your gums. Eventually, small pockets will form just beneath the gum line, separating your teeth from your gums.

Gum disease is particularly dangerous because it is not painful and often goes unnoticed. Only regular treatments – brushing and flossing, along with dental cleanings and exams – can reduce the risks of this disease.

Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

Gums Bleed When Brushing

Red, Swollen or Tender Gums

Bad Breath

Persistent Bad Taste in Mouth

Pus Forming Between Teeth and Gums

Shifting or Separating Teeth

What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease. Its symptoms are red, swollen gums that bleed easily during brushing. The good news is that gingivitis is very treatable. Consistent, proper brushing and flossing can usually eliminate it.

What is Periodontitis?

If not treated, gingivitis will progress into the more advanced stage of the disease, called periodontitis. Here the gums and bones supporting the teeth will begin to atrophy. This can cause teeth to become loose, fall out, or even require extraction. Unfortunately, this damage is irreversible.

So if you suspect your gums are at risk of periodontitis, call our Antrim, Keene or Peterborough dentist office right away!

Treatment Options

Periodontal Gels and Trays

Scaling and Root Planing

Periodontal Surgery

What to Do When You Have Gum Disease

The first thing, of course, is to schedule an appointment with your dentist at either our Antrim, Keene or Peterborough dentist offices. 

Gingivitis treatments include regular brushing and flossing. Your dentist will recommend if you need special toothpaste or other medications.

Treatments for periodontitis include:

  • Periodontal gels and trays
  • Scaling and root planing
  • Periodontal or laser gum surgery
  • Extraction and subsequent replacements such as dental implants or dentures

Periodontal Gels and Trays

These are do-it-yourself at-home treatments that may help clear up mild cases of periodontal disease. Your dentist can prescribe the right treatment for your existing situation. Some of these are available as OTC medications, although we strongly advise you to seek your dentist’s recommendation.

Scaling and Root Planing

The least invasive and most cost-effective periodontitis treatment, this is the preferred treatment method for moderate cases of periodontitis.

Your dentist first cleans your teeth with a special ultrasonic device. This removes plaque and tartar not only from on and around your teeth but also down under the gum line and around the root where normal cleanings don’t reach. Then each tooth is planed, or smoothed, down to the root so that your gums will have an easier time reattaching to a smoother surface.

Periodontal Surgery

If the gums and bones are too damaged for nonsurgical treatments, there are several surgical options that your dentist can recommend and/or employ.

  • Pocket Depth Reduction
    • This involves the folding back of the gums to get at the plaque and tartar deposits underneath. Once thoroughly cleaned – and any dead tissue cleared out – the gums are sewn back up and can now reattach properly to your teeth.
  • Regeneration
    • If too much bone or tissue has been lost to periodontitis, a step beyond the pocket depth reduction needs to be taken. Here, while the gums are folded away from the tooth, bone grafts or protein solutions may be applied to stimulate new bone or tissue growth.
  • Soft-Tissue Graft
    • When periodontal disease causes your gums to recede from the teeth, exposing the roots, this makes your teeth appear longer, creates sensitivity to hot or cold substances, and exposes your teeth to additional risk of infection. The answer is a soft-tissue graft, where flesh from the top of your mouth is grafted to your gums in the required area. This is also sometimes performed as a cosmetic dentistry procedure.

Stop Gum Disease!

No doubt you’ve heard that phrase before from countless dental commercials and public service announcements.

Now that you know how serious gum disease and its treatments can get, it should underscore the need for regular brushing and flossing, as well as routine cleanings at our Peterborough, Antrim or Keene Dentist Offices.