Periodontal (gum) Treatment
Periodontal disease is a serious gum infection that can destroy the natural support of your teeth overtime. This disease does not typically go away on its own and requires intervention from your dentist. There are several treatments your dentist can recommend and there are many ways to prevent periodontal disease from occurring in the first place.
What is Periodontal Disease?
The human mouth is full of bacteria. These bacteria are responsible for bad breath and plaque buildup on the teeth in everyone. Some individuals also have a genetic predisposition for higher amounts of plaque buildup and bacteria. This plaque produces toxins that irritate the gums, causing them to become red and inflamed. If left unchecked, the plaque buildup will harden into a calculus, often called tartar. Tartar buildup can occur both above and below the gum line. As the disease progresses, the gums that hold teeth in place and roots of the tooth begin to deteriorate. If the disease progresses to sufficient state, then teeth may begin to fall out. Periodontal disease is widespread, and it is more common to lose a tooth to this disease than it is to lose a tooth from cavities or other types of damage. Periodontal disease is most insidious because it can become serious while only displaying minor symptoms. Often, this disease is completely painless, even in more advanced stages. Bleeding, redness and soreness can occur, but many patients may not consider this an indication of a serious problem. Only in its advanced stages is the disease noticeable to the untrained eye.
How is Periodontal Disease Treated?
There are several professional treatments for periodontal disease that involve both surgical and nonsurgical procedures. All treatment starts with a thorough cleaning of the mouth. Scaling is often used to remove concentrated tartar buildup below the gum line. The least invasive treatment includes antibiotics and anti-microbial mouth rinses to cleanse the mouth of the excess bacteria. The teeth roots may then be planed to allow the clean reattachment of the gum tissue to hold the tooth in place. A noninvasive laser may be used to remove dead tissue around the teeth. The laser provides a clean and exact removal and also stimulates the healthy cells to accelerate healing of the gums. Surgical procedures may be necessary in extreme cases where the gums have developed pockets that are very difficult to keep clean and become festered with bacteria. The infection in these cases often reaches down into the bone around the teeth. The modern surgical techniques involve pulling the gums away from the diseased site and then removing the diseased portions of gum and bone. The purpose of the surgery is to clear away all infection and provide a healthy base from which to grow new and healthy tissues.
How to Prevent Periodontal Disease
Periodontal Disease can be very expensive to treat with professional methods, but the good news is that it is not difficult to prevent. Brushing, and especially flossing, are important to preventing the infection. Bacteria and plaque often fester between teeth when they are not regularly flossed, and this infection can spread to the rest of the mouth. Using antibacterial mouthwash is also important because it cleanses the mouth of excess bacteria and prevents buildup. Regular teeth cleanings and examinations by the dentist are also important. A little investment now can save serious money in the future.
Call our office today at: (503) 563-3655 or visit our office in downtown Portland located at: 610 SW Alder Street, Ste 1105, Portland, OR 97205.