Gum Disease

What Is Gum Disease

Gum disease can be prevented with routine check-ups with your dentist.

When you don’t see a dentist on a regular schedule usually every 6 months you will develop a build-up and this will irritate and inflame your gums leading to gingivitis. The gums will become swollen and tender. Patient notices that gums bleed when brushing and flossing. If you put off going to the dentist for a substantial length of time this build-up will lead into the development of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease of the tissue which surrounds and supports the teeth. Keep in mind that there are also other factors that play into the development of gum disease, such as smoking, medications, genetics and overall bad oral hygiene. Left untreated you will notice bad breath that doesn’t go away, gums will start to recede, deep pockets will form between teeth showing signs of black triangles and your teeth will start to loosen and shift.  By this point patients usually have active periodontitis. If you notice any symptoms please schedule an appointment to see your dentist because the earlier you detect gingivitis the better chance you have to stopping it from becoming Gum Disease.

HOW ARE GINGIVITIS AND PERIODONTAL DISEASE DIAGNOSED?

The dentist will do a visual examination for deposits of plaque and calculus along with the appearance of the gums. Bone loss levels are measured with a special instrument. The dentist also checks for mobility of teeth. Radiographs are taken to gather additional information. After recording the facts the dentist many need additional information to confirm diagnoses.

TREATMENT FOR GINGIVITIS

Full mouth debridement may be suggested to remove all buildup around the tooth. After all build up and stains are removed, teeth are polished to prevent plaque formation. Success of any treatment is dependent on the ability of the patient to maintain plaque control. Which is brushing, flossing and rinsing at home on a daily basis. And of course regular 6 month check-ups with your dentist.

TREATMENT FOR PERIODONTAL DISEASE

Depending on the extent of the disease, treatment will vary. Each case is different and treatment options can be discussed with a dentist or periodontist. The goal of treatment is to control the infection. Scaling and root planning (also known as a deep cleaning) are necessary to remove both sub and supra gingival buildup. Getting rid of rough spots on the tooth below the gums helps remove bacteria that contribute to the disease. A hand instrument or ultrasonic scalers are used to remove the build-up. Teeth are then polished. Patient are scheduled for an evaluation 3-4 months after treatment. If the deep cleaning didn’t not clear up the infection surgery might be necessary if the pockets remain. Surgery involves lifting the gums and removing any buildup that remains after the initial scaling and root planning. Bone and gum regeneration methods may also be suggested. Treatment results are dependent on the degree of progression, patient’s oral care at home and risk factors such as smoking and medical conditions.

MEDICATIONS

Some the medications include prescription mouth rinse such as chlorhexide which controls bacterial growth. Antibiotic gel or microspheres also may be interested directly to the site of pocket which not only kills bacteria but also reduces the pocket. Oral antibiotics may also be prescribed for long standing periodontal disease. Many patients are confused on why they need any of this therapy and its effectiveness due to the cost associated with the full treatment. Antibiotics work along with scaling and root planning (deep cleaning). They can come in many forms such as an antimicrobial solution that is administered in each pocket after all the build-up has been removed; or in the form of a localized injection in a deeper pocket for a sustained release focused where the problem is at its worst. On clinical level, the results of the therapy with and without the suggested antibiotic therapy are clearly proven at the post operative follow up visits here in my dental office in Corona. Pockets are probed to measure and diagnose the initial condition as well as after the treatment is complete to re-evaluate changes and rule out possible needed periodontal surgery.