Periodontal Care (Gum Care)

Don’t neglect your gums; they’re vital to a healthy smile and can be maintained through the following services:  routine cleanings, gum treatment (with anesthesia), and comprehensive soft tissue management. At Waldron Family Smile Center our dentists and hygienists are dedicated to the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of periodontal (Gum) disease. We diagnose gum disease by using a special probe designed to measure if there has been any bone loss around your teeth. We probe and record the numbers from six locations on every tooth and determine the severity of the disease process.

What exactly is periodontal disease?

Perio- means around, Dont- means tooth. Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums and bone around the teeth. It is the leading cause of tooth loss. It is caused by the bacteria in your mouth.

What are the Stages of Peiodontal disease?

  • Stage 1: Gingivitis: Gingiva- means gum and Itis- means inflammation. At first bacteria will infect the gums only. At this stage it is called gingivitis. Gingivitis is an infection of the gums only. This may cause the gums to become red and swollen and may sometimes lead to bleeding during tooth brushing. When gum disease develops, the body deposits a mineral layer underneath the gums. This layer is called tartar. Tartar causes the gums to become swollen.
  • Stage 2: Periodontitis: Over time if the gingivitis or gum disease is left untreated, then the infection goes deeper and infects the bone around the teeth. At this stage it is called periodontitis because the infection is eating away at the bone that supports the teeth. In most cases people do not realize that they have the infection because it does not hurt. By the time it does hurt, it is usually too late to save the teeth because they become loose and may even fall out. It is best to catch the infection as soon as possible so you can keep your teeth for a lifetime.

Symptoms of gingivitis or periodontitis include:

  • Bleeding gums when brushing your teeth
  • Bright red or red-purple appearance to gums
  • Tender gums when touched
  • Swollen gums
  • Mouth sores
  • A shiny appearance to gums
  • Loose teeth

Factors that increase periodontal disease include:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Diabetes or heart disease
  • Crooked teeth
  • Some types of medication, such as steroids
  • Hormonal changes in women. Such as pregnancy or menopause.
  • Genetic Factors

Periodontal Treatment Options

1. When gums are healthy and there are no signs of gingivitis or periodontal disease, a Routine Periodic Dental Cleaning and polishing is performed. This keeps the teeth clean and healthy and is performed every six months. 2. When the gums show signs of gingivitis along with tartar build up, the first step in treating the gum disease is to remove this layer of tartar. A Debridement and Second Scaling is usually performed, in two visits, to restore the health of the gum tissue.  When the gums are healthy again, a patient can usually go back on a Routine Periodic Dental Cleaning schedule. 3. If gum disease has progressed to periodontitis, the tartar buildup has started to cause bone destruction. If you are diagnosed with periodontitis, a comprehensive treatment plan will be written up and gone over with you.  The procedure usually begins with the removal of the destructive tartar.  This is called Scaling and Root Planing and is one of the most effective ways to treat gum disease before it becomes severe.  This is performed over several visits and is usually performed under anesthesia for your comfort. When someone has periodontal disease and is treated with Scaling and Root Planing, it is often imperative to perform follow up Periodontal Maintenance every three or four months afterwards to keep the disease under control. 4. When gum disease has been untreated for some time bone loss is inevitable. Scaling and Root Planing removes the buildup of the destructive tartar, but it is often necessary to place an antibiotic, such as Arestin, in deep pockets to help stop the infection process and allow for healing of the gum tissue.  If needed, Arestin may be a part of your comprehensive treatment plan. 5. When gum disease is very severe there still may be options prior to having to lose teeth. Periodontal Surgery utilizing the latest technology may be an option. Call Waldron Family Smile Center today or contact us to have a periodontal evaluation. Be sure to ask about our special $145 exam, x-rays, and consult.