Posts for tag: Periodontal Disease
There are a variety of methods for treating periodontal (gum) disease depending on its severity — from routine office cleanings to periodontal surgery. But the goal behind all of them remains the same: remove bacterial plaque and calculus (tartar), the root cause for gum disease, from all tooth and gum surfaces.
The traditional method for doing this is called scaling in which we use special hand instruments (scalers) to mechanically remove plaque and calculus. Scaling and a similar procedure called root planing (the root surfaces are “planed” smooth of plaque to aid tissue reattachment) require quite a bit of skill and experience. They're also time-consuming: full treatment can take several sessions, depending on how extensive the infection has spread.
In recent years, we've also seen a new method emerge for removing plaque: lasers. Commonly used in other aspects of healthcare, lasers utilize a focused beam of light to destroy and remove diseased or unhealthy tissue while, according to studies and firsthand accounts, minimizing healthy tissue destruction to a better degree than traditional techniques. Procedure and healing times are likewise reduced.
Because of these beneficial characteristics, we are seeing their use in gum disease treatment, especially for removing diseased and inflamed tissues below the gum line and decreasing sub-gingival (“below the gums”) bacteria.
Dentists who have used lasers in this way do report less tissue damage, bleeding and post-treatment discomfort than traditional treatments. But because research is just beginning, there's not enough evidence to say laser treatment is preferably better than conventional treatment for gum disease.
At this point, lasers can be an effective addition to conventional gum disease treatment for certain people, especially those in the early stages of the disease. As we continue to study this technology, though, the day may come when lasers are the preferred way to stop gum disease from ruining your dental health.
If you would like more information on treating gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Lasers Versus Traditional Cleanings for Treating Gum Disease.”
Periodontal disease can have a devastating effect on your oral health. The disease damages gum tissue and may even loosen your teeth if it's not treated promptly. Your Clarks Summit, PA, dentists at Abington Dental Arts, PC diagnose and treat gum disease and help you keep your smile healthy.
How can I tell if I have periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease usually starts slowly. Gingivitis, the earliest phase of the disease, has several signs and symptoms that are easy to overlook. Bleeding when brushing or flossing is a common gingivitis symptom. Unfortunately, many people don't realize that bleeding isn't normal. If you notice a coppery taste in your mouth after brushing or flossing, or your toothbrush looks pink, you may have gingivitis.
Gingivitis can also cause gum inflammation. Your gums may be red, swollen and tender. Constant bad breath may also be an issue. Fortunately, periodontal disease is very easy to reverse at this stage. A thorough dental cleaning in your Clarks Summit dentist's office and improved oral hygiene habits can improve the health of your gums. Cleanings remove plaque and tartar, two substances that play a role in gum disease.
If the disease progresses, you may continue to experience bad breath and inflamed gums, but may also notice a few other signs and symptoms, including:
- Receding Gums: Do your teeth look a little longer? The change in appearance can occur if your gums begin to recede due to gum disease.
- Pain: Pain may become more constant and may worsen when you bite or chew. You may also notice pain when eating hot, cold or sugary foods and drinks. The problem occurs when receding gums expose your sensitive tooth roots.
- Pockets: As the infection in your gums worsens, the gum tissue will start to pull away from the teeth, forming pockets around them. It's impossible to ignore periodontal disease at this point. Pockets are not only unsightly but painful.
- Loose Teeth or Dentures: The bacteria in your pockets damages the bones and ligaments that keep your teeth firmly. As a result, your teeth may become loose, or you may notice that your dentures don't fit well.
Visiting your dentist every six months can reduce your risk of periodontal disease and ensure that you receive treatment if you do happen to develop the disease.
Protect your gums with regular visits to your Clarks Summit, PA, dentists at Abington Dental Arts, PC. Call (570) 586-1411 to schedule an appointment.