At Richland’s Midtown Dental Clinic, we believe it’s our job to protect your whole health by providing superior, long-term preventive and restorative dental care. When your oral health declines, so does your overall health, as demonstrated by gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. Gum disease is not just a serious dental concern; it has been linked to heart disease and diabetes, as well as low birth weight in children born to women suffering from it.
Periodontal disease is characterized by red, swollen, bleeding, or receding gums, as well as bad breath, painful chewing, and loose teeth. It starts when plaque is found in the mouth and hardens into a substance called tartar, which can only be removed with a professional cleaning. If plaque and tartar are not removed, the bacteria eventually cause a mild form of periodontal disease called gingivitis, in which the gums bleed and become red and swollen. Gingivitis is still reversible, and it can be treated with a professional dental cleaning and regular brushing and flossing. However, when left untreated, the gum disease worsens, leading to an advanced form called periodontitis that can cause severe damage to the soft tissue that supports the teeth, resulting in infection and eventual tooth loss.
Gum Disease Treatments
At Midtown Dental Clinic, Richland dentists Dr. Kristina Bunch and Dr. Chris Kleist offer a variety of periodontal therapy treatments that address gum disease at its various stages. Periodontal therapy begins with a consultation and exam, Drs. Bunch and Kleist can determine the stage of the disease and develop a treatment plan. Treatments may include:
- Professional dental cleaning: Dr. Bunch or Dr. Kleist will remove the plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line. If you have gingivitis or signs of periodontitis, you will be required to have this level of cleaning twice a year or more.
- Scaling and root planing: Plaque and tartar are scraped away from both above and below the gum line while under local anesthetic (scaling). Rough spots on the tooth root are then smoothed out (planing). Locally applied medications, such as antimicrobials and antibiotics, may be used.
After you receive your treatment, you will be given instructions on specific oral hygiene techniques to use regularly at home. In severe cases of periodontal disease, surgery may be required to remove deep pockets of harmful bacteria.
Q. When is gum surgery necessary?
A. Gum surgery becomes necessary when the gum tissue around the teeth is too unhealthy to be repaired with nonsurgical treatments.
Q. How can you prevent gum disease?
A. Routine professional dental cleanings and regular at-home oral hygiene practices that include brushing and rinsing at least twice a day and flossing regularly will help prevent both gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Q. What is a gum graft?
A. During a gum graft, tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth and attached to the affected gum line, allowing more tissue to grow and cover the exposed root surface.
Q. What is a gum or periodontal abscess?
A. A gum or periodontal abscess occurs when a pocket of pus collects within the gum. It happens when tissue disintegrates as a result of a bacterial infection in the gums or tooth roots and supporting bone.
Q. How often should I visit the office to maintain good dental hygiene?
A. Suffering from periodontal disease requires more frequent visits to the dentist. As the symptoms of periodontal disease progress, your gums recede, creating pockets between your teeth. The result of this is a much harder time cleaning plaque from your teeth. Your dentist may recommend treatment every two or three months or even more often, depending on the severity. Over time, fewer appointments may be necessary. At Midtown Dental Clinic, we take the treatment for periodontal disease very seriously. If you follow through with periodontal maintenance care, you are more likely to halt the damage done. If you do not follow through, your periodontal disease may get worse. You may or may not feel pain as a warning sign that the disease is progressing. If you would like more information on how to treat periodontal disease, please contact Dr. Bunch and Dr. Kleist at Midtown Dental Clinic today.