Common Periodontal Treatments
If you have been diagnosed with gingivitis or gum disease, you may be worried about how this will affect your overall oral health. We believe our cosmetic dentistry patients deserve the very best care, which includes plenty of information so you feel informed about your condition and comfortable with our techniques, technology, and recommendations. Here's a brief overview of what you can expect from gum disease treatment at our Kansas City office.
What Is Gum Disease?
The first sign of gum disease is gingivitis (gum inflammation). In the early stages, bacteria build up, causing the gums to look red and puffy and to bleed easily during brushing. In later stages, the gum and bone begin to pull away from the teeth and form pockets that easily become infected. As the disease progresses, the pockets get deeper and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed by infection. Teeth become loose, eventually resulting in tooth loss.
The main cause of gum disease is plaque, but it can also be due to hormonal changes, illnesses (such as diabetes, cancer, or HIV), medications, bad habits (such as smoking), poor oral hygiene habits, and family history of dental disease.
Because gum disease develops over years, the early warning signs might not be noticed. Typical symptoms include gums that bleed easily or feel tender, persistent bad breath, receding gums, and loose teeth.
Common Treatments for Gum Disease
Gum disease is most successfully treated in the earliest stages. That's why regular checkups are critical, especially for patients over 40 years old. In some cases, deep cleanings are all that's needed to treat gum disease and prevent it from worsening. However, when tissues around the teeth are unhealthy and can no longer support the teeth, surgery is often needed.
- Professional dental cleaning: Most patients have professional cleanings twice a year, but if you have gum disease, we may recommend cleaning more frequently. During a routine cleaning, we will remove the plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line of all teeth.
- Deep cleaning: Also called scaling and root planing, a deep cleaning is similar to a routine cleaning but extends well below the gum line, including the root surface. Plaque and tartar will be scraped away (scaling) and rough spots on the root will be made smooth (planing). Planing gets rid of bacteria and also provides a clean surface for your gums to reattach to the teeth. This non-surgical procedure is performed under local anesthesia that numbs your teeth and gums.
- Antibiotic therapy: In some cases, we may apply an antibiotic below the gum line to get kill any remaining harmful bacteria. A special non-prescription toothpaste with fluoride and an antibiotic may also be recommended.
- Surgical treatment: Some patients with advanced periodontal disease may need surgical treatments, such as flap surgery (to reduce the gum pockets), tissue and bone grafts, and tissue regeneration.
- Tooth restoration: Patients who have experienced severe tooth decay or tooth loss may need root canal therapy, dental crowns, implants, or bridges.
Learn More about Gum Disease
For every patient, young or old, Dr. Goodman and his expert staff will use their considerable experience and advanced technology to provide sophisticated treatments and comprehensive care. If you have any questions about gum disease or need a deep cleaning, please schedule an appointment. We look forward to taking care of all your dental and oral health needs!