Comprehensive Treatment for Gum Disease
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease occurs when you have an excess buildup of plaque and oral bacteria. Both of these things irritate your gum tissue. In response, your body sends an inflammatory response, which causes your gums to swell. When your gums swell, they pull away from your teeth. Bacteria fall into the pockets and start attacking from within. They attack the periodontal ligaments that hold your teeth in place, and they attack your jawbone. Eventually, your gums recede, your teeth become loose and they can even fall out.
Common Symptoms of Gum Disease
Common symptoms of gum disease include:
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is a common treatment for gum disease. It is essentially a deep cleaning of your teeth. Scaling involves scraping plaque, tartar (which is hardened plaque) and bacteria from all surfaces of your teeth, including between your teeth and under the gums. Root planing is the process in which we remove plaque, bacteria and other toxins from the surfaces of the roots of your teeth. With a smooth surface, it is difficult for new bacteria to adhere. An antimicrobial agent is delivered below the gums to kill any lingering bacteria. With your teeth cleaned, your gums can begin to heal.
In some cases, swollen gum tissue can get in the way of our ability to provide you with a thorough scaling and root planing. If we cannot properly clean your teeth, your gums cannot heal. To properly clean your teeth, the infected gum tissue needs to be removed. In the past, this was done with a scalpel, which not only causes a significant amount of bleeding but pain and swelling after treatment as well. Today, infected gum tissue is removed with a laser. A laser is a high-intensity beam of light that is no thicker than a human hair. It provides pinpoint accuracy and minimal trauma to your gum tissue. The laser minimizes bleeding, pain, and swelling, and allows us to properly perform your scaling and root planing.
When your gum disease is advanced, surgical treatments may be needed. A pocket reduction surgery reduces the depths of your periodontal pockets, making it easier for us to properly clean your teeth. Graft procedures may also be needed. A soft tissue graft restores your natural gumline. A bone graft restores strength and shape to your jawbone.
Preventing Gum Disease
There are steps you can take to prevent gum disease from happening in the first place. Brushing and flossing at home every day is essential. Regular dental cleanings (at least twice a year) will help to further your efforts. During your cleanings, we will also perform a thorough oral exam. We inspect your mouth for signs of gum disease, which allow us to take action in the early stages. You can also take measures like eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, reducing your stress and quitting habits such as smoking and drinking.
Treating gum disease is essential for restoring the health of your mouth. For more information, or to schedule your consultation, call Kenneth G. Wallis DDS Family and Cosmetic Dentistry today at (408) 248-6777!