Periodontal Treatment An Overview
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, or periodontitis, is a common, yet serious dental concern. It can affect patients beginning as early as the pre-teen and teenage years and impacts adults of all ages. A bacterial infection of the gums, periodontal disease has been linked to a wide range of oral and systemic medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease (including heart attack and stroke), diabetes and pre-term birth.
Do your gums bleed when brushing or flossing your teeth?
Many patients are concerned that their gums bleed when they brush or floss their teeth and they are right to worry. Bleeding gums is the number one indication that gum disease is present. Plaque builds up on the teeth and becomes an ideal breeding ground for harmful bacteria which then multiply and form a protective, sticky matrix known as biofilm. As the biofilm nests in the periodontal pockets, gums become inflamed and begin to recede. Chronic inflammation eats away the bone that surrounds and supports the teeth leading to tooth loss.
Risk Factors for Gum Disease
Even those who practice oral hygiene diligently may develop gum disease. This is because periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that is passed from one person to another through common activities like kissing, sharing a drink, etc. Each individual’s immune function will determine to what extent the body is able to fight off this type of bacterial invasion. If the pathogenic bacteria reach infectious levels, periodontal treatment can reduce the levels of problematic bacteria and return the mouth to a healthy state.
The interplay between periodontal disease and other health conditions is well documented. A family history of specific conditions as well as certain lifestyle factors increase the probability of gum disease developing. It is advisable to visit the dentist on a regular basis for screenings in order to catch disease early, when it is most easily and effectively treated. The following list contains only some of the most common risk factors for periodontal disease:
- Family history of periodontal disease
- Family history of diabetes
- Family history of stroke
- Family history of heart disease or heart attack
- Poor diet
- High stress lifestyle
- Tobacco use
- Crooked, “overlapping” teeth
- Poor oral hygiene routine
Additional unwelcome items associated with active periodontal disease are:
- Loss of jaw bone
- Facial sagging
- Tooth loss
- Halitosis (bad breath)
Gum Disease Prevention
Visit a dental office that is trained to recognize the signs of periodontal disease at least twice a year to help prevent the advancement of gum disease. In between six month checkups, twice daily brushing and once daily flossing and Waterpiking can help prevent the build up of plaque and biofilm.
Periodontal Treatment What to Expect
Treatment for periodontal disease is tailored to the needs of each patient. Dr. Robinson will thoroughly examine your teeth, gums and jaw bone to determine the extent of treatment needed to restore your oral health and protect your smile. Our dental hygienists are trained in gentle and effective techniques to remove biofilm and tartar buildup from beneath the gums as well as all surfaces of the oral cavity. This treatment removes disease-causing bacteria, allowing the gums to begin the healing process. Patients with advanced stages of periodontal disease may benefit from a combination of periodontal treatment and restorative therapies.
A Dawson Academy trained dentist, Dr. Robinson practices complete dentistry. He considers all aspects of the patient’s well being when addressing oral concerns and takes a comprehensive approach when treating gum disease. Our team will work to clean your gums of disease-causing bacteria and biofilm and address secondary issues that may have resulted due to the progression of the disease. Patients with bone loss, missing teeth or receding gums may require more extensive treatment.
The hygienists at Dr. Robinson’s office are all trained in advanced methods of periodontal disease screening, prevention and treatment. They employ the latest techniques and state of the art equipment to address the areas of the mouth that cannot be effectively cleaned at home, such as the buildup of biofilm in periodontal pockets. Routine dental exams give Dr. Robinson the opportunity to diagnose gum disease or other oral health issues before they develop into more complex problems. Early diagnosis allows for proactive treatment, reducing the risk of secondary complications.
Our Individualized, State of the Art Approach Includes:
- Oral DNA Salivary Test
A simple swish with saline allows us to test your saliva at an outside laboratory to determine exactly which pathogenic bacteria are causing your specific infection. This enables us to provide completely individualized, targeted treatment.
- Ultrasonic Instrumentation
Designed in a variety of shapes to intimately adapt to all surfaces of the teeth, these electronically powered instruments vibrate in an elliptical pattern 20,000 – 40,000 times per second. The vibrations along with focused water spray and the superb technique of our hygienists remove tartar deposits quickly and efficiently. This step of treatment is often referred to as “scaling and root planing.”
- Air-Flow Therapy
Incredibly fine particles of glycine, a biocompatible amino acid, are propelled by compressed air and water onto the surfaces of the teeth and into the gum pockets. This removes disease causing biofilm trapped between teeth and below the gum line. The air-flow’s combination of pressurized air, water and glycine powder is not only the most advanced, effective non-surgical treatment on the market today, it is also the most comfortable.
- Antioxidant Assisted Healing
After treatment, we jump start your body’s own healing mechanisms by utilizing specially formulated all-natural antioxidant rich liquids and gels to accelerate the healing process while hydrating oral tissues.
- Probiotic Recolonization
One of the best ways to fight bad bacteria is with good bacteria. Specific oral pro-biotics tailored to the pathogenic bacterial species in your mouth are used to crowd out “bad” bacteria by causing a surge in the growth of “good” or “healthy” bacteria typically present in a healthy oral environment.
- Continued Supportive Maintenance
Periodontal disease, like asthma or type I diabetes, is a chronic condition that cannot be cured, but instead must be managed to maintain long-term health. After treatment, we will help you continue your newfound oral wellness through the combination of a prescribed, specialized home care routine and visits to our office every 3 to 4 months to combat biofilm build up in areas such as gum pockets which aren’t able to be thoroughly cleaned at home.
Do you avoid the dentist due to dental anxiety?
All of our dental hygienists are licensed to anesthetize patients before periodontal treatment. This allows for your mouth to be completely numb while we are working ensuring you feel no discomfort. We also offer oral conscious sedation options to help you feel fully relaxed during your treatment. Dr. Robinson will gladly discuss sedation options with you before treatment and make recommendations based on your personal desires and needs.