Gum disease remains the leading cause of tooth loss in this country, according to the National Institutes of Health. To maintain the health of your gums and supportive structures, Dr. Brett Hester offers periodontal therapy that can address mild, moderate, and advanced stages of gum disease.
Symptoms and Causes of Gum Disease
Around half of all adults in this country have some stage of gum disease. While that makes gum disease a common dental problem, it doesn’t make the problem any less serious. Gum disease often results from poor oral hygiene habits. Many of our patients pay attention to their teeth when brushing, but special care should also be taken to clean between teen and just below the gum line where plaque and bacteria can build.
Flossing (especially using a water flosser) and regularly using a therapeutic mouthwash are two ways to directly prevent gum disease. Teeth crowding, smoking, and diet can also be risk factors for periodontitis.
The early stage of gum disease is referred to as gingivitis. Individuals with this condition typically have swollen and tender gums that are prone to bleeding, especially after brushing and flossing. When gingivitis is not properly treated, it can advance to periodontitis. At this stage, the infection begins forming pockets (areas of separation between the gums and bone) below the gumline. Periodontitis is a serious condition that can lead to irreversible gum tissue recession and exposed tooth roots.
Dr. Hester will diagnose your symptoms. If you have gingivitis, a dental cleaning and improved oral hygiene can treat and prevent the return of the early stage of gum disease. Periodontitis can require a more intensive non-surgical treatment called a deep cleaning. For advanced infection, oral surgery may be required to prevent the need for a tooth extraction.
The majority of our patients can enjoy restored oral health following either a dental cleaning or deep cleaning at our office. If you require a cleaning to treat gingivitis, a member of our team will use a special metal tool or an ultrasonic scaler to remove plaque and tartar buildup along the base of your teeth. Hardened food particles allow bacteria to persist in the areas of buildup. By removing plaque and tartar, you can significantly lower your risk of developing gum disease.
A slightly more invasive yet still non-surgical treatment we offer is called a deep cleaning. The treatment also involves the thorough cleaning of your teeth, but one extra step (root planing) smooths the surface of your roots so connective soft tissue can reattach to the base of your teeth. Topical antibiotics can be used as part of this procedure.
Certain advanced infections cannot be adequately treated through deep cleanings. To prevent the need for tooth extraction, you may need to undergo oral surgery. An incision in your gums will need to be made to reach deep pockets of infection. Once the areas are cleaned, the underlying bone can be reshaped to prevent the return of the infection.
Schedule Your Periodontal Therapy Session Today
The best way to stay ahead of gum disease is to practice good oral hygiene habits at home and to visit our office twice a year for exams and dental cleanings. Prevention is always preferable to treatment when possible.
A member of our team will be glad to give you practical advice on how to prevent gum disease or treat the early symptoms of gingivitis. Using a quality water flosser is one way to flush out bacteria from beneath your gumline. To schedule your next visit, call (229) 247-3400.