Approximately, 64.7 million people suffer from some form of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. Gum disease is an inflammation of gums brought upon by the buildup of bacterial plaque and tartar. Although it has a wide range of oral health repercussions for your mouth, what is worse is that it also negatively affects your overall health.
At Ford Dental Group, we can diagnose gum disease and provide the appropriate periodontal treatment for it.
Stages Of Gum Disease
Plaque is a thin and sticky layer of bacteria that forms on your teeth constantly. If you do not take care of your oral health diligently, plaque can accumulate and harden into calculus. This hardened plaque cannot be removed at home and needs the intervention of a dentist. If left untreated, plaque can result in periodontal disease.
Gingivitis is the early stage of periodontal disease and is characterized by tender and inflamed gums. You may also experience bleeding and swollen gums while you are brushing your teeth. At this stage, there is only mild damage to your soft tissue and with the right periodontal treatment, the disease can be stopped in its tracks and the damage is reversed.
However, if gingivitis is not treated in time, it can advance to periodontitis.
Periodontitis is marked by receding gums which creates deep pockets around your teeth. Bacteria invade these pockets and spread infection down to the tooth root and surrounding bone structure. Symptoms of periodontitis include tooth sensitivity, bad breath, and loosening of the teeth.
If periodontitis becomes advanced, your soft and hard tissues will suffer severe and irreversible damage and your teeth will start to fall out.
Treatment For Gum Disease
Depending on how severe your gum disease is, Dr. Jonathan Ford will take you through multiple phases of periodontal treatment.
Scaling and Root Planing
This is the etiological phase of treatment which focuses on controlling the spread of bacteria and combating gingivitis.
At Ford Dental Group, we will scrape off the hardened calculus from the surface of your teeth and below the gumline using special dental equipment called scalers. The tooth root will be smoothed so that bacteria may not be able to re-adhere to it.
We may also prescribe you some antibiotic medication and educate you on how to properly brush and floss your teeth and what lifestyle changes to make to prevent the re-emergence of gum disease.
Gum Flap Surgery
If we find out that your gum pockets are more than 6 mm deep, that means the bacteria has invaded too deep to clean easily. In this case, we may recommend gum flap surgery which involves making small flaps in your gums, which can be folded back to access and clean the underlying plaque stuck to your tooth root. Once the infection is removed, we will suture your gums back into place.
This surgery is minimally invasive and allows a person to go about their normal routine after a day.
During advanced periodontitis, the damage to gum tissue is severe. If your gum tissue has deteriorated, we will recommend a gum graft. This involves taking sample tissue from somewhere else in your mouth and suturing it to your gums to replace the soft tissue that has been lost.
This surgery is done to cover the exposed tooth root and prevent plaque from sticking to the root.
Although it is always our priority to save your teeth, in some advanced periodontitis cases, the tooth has become far too damaged to be rescued. In these instances, the only recourse which often remains is tooth extraction. This is done to ensure the health of your remaining teeth and your mouth.
Periodontal disease is a chronic disease and without professional periodontal maintenance, it will reoccur and reemerge in patients with a history of gum disease.
Periodontal maintenance requires you to visit us every two to four months, depending on the extent of your disease. Although periodontal maintenance is more expensive than regular dental cleaning, it is the only non-aggressive and non-invasive way to improve your periodontal health.
If the disease is left to progress, it not just wreaks havoc on your oral health but can also result in serious health issues like cardiovascular disorders, uncontrolled diabetes, premature birth, and osteoporosis.
If you discover any of the symptoms of periodontal disease, call us today at (714) 409-6161 to schedule an appointment.