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Dental Treatments

Periodontal Treatment

Woman with open mouth being examined by dentist

Gum disease is a condition that affects millions of people around the globe. Also known as periodontal disease, it is an infection of the gums and tissues surrounding your teeth. Because gum disease in its early stages is usually pain-free, many patients don’t seek periodontal treatment or even realize they have it. That’s why it’s so important to visit Dr. DeVor for regular checkups, cleanings, and x-rays. Having your teeth examined and cleaned at least every six months helps him keep an eye on your oral health and detect the signs of gum disease.

What Causes Gum Disease?

Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on your teeth. When plaque is not removed with thorough brushing twice a day and daily cleaning between teeth, gums can become irritated and inflamed. Bacteria move into pockets just below the gum line where they promote irritation and can begin to cause teeth to separate from the gums. Without proper periodontal treatment and home care, this process can eventually destroy bone and other tissues that support your teeth. Periodontal disease is one of the top reasons for tooth loss in adults and has two main stages: gingivitis and periodontitis.

Stages Of Gum Disease

Gingivitis

During this early stage of periodontal disease, gums become red, swollen, and inflamed, and may bleed easily. Gingivitis can usually be halted with a rigorous home care regimen that includes daily brushing and flossing, using an antimicrobial mouthwash, and seeing Dr. DeVor for more frequent dental hygiene visits, usually every 3-4 months.

Periodontitis

Without periodontal treatment, gingivitis advances into periodontitis. In this stage, bone, gums, and other tissues that support the teeth may become seriously and irreversibly damaged. This chronic infection can cause teeth to become loose, fall out, or they may need to be removed by a dentist.

Treatment Of Periodontal Disease

Treatment for periodontal disease varies, depending on the patient’s specific needs and how advanced the disease has become. It may be performed by a hygienist, dentist, or periodontist who specializes in the treatment of gum disease.

Common treatments include:

Scaling and Root Planing

If gum disease has gone beyond gingivitis, your dentist or hygienist will most likely recommend scaling and root planing. This non-surgical periodontal treatment may take multiple visits, depending on your specific needs.

During the scaling procedure, your dentist or hygienist numbs the area and uses special tools to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria from the teeth and pockets in the gums. Root planing involves smoothing the root surfaces of the teeth, which helps gum tissue heal and reattach.

Antibiotics

To get rid of the bacteria that cause gum disease, your dentist may prescribe oral antibiotics, prescription mouthwash, or use local antimicrobial therapy, which involves the application of an antimicrobial gel on the gums and pockets.

For more advanced cases, your dentist may recommend surgical periodontal treatment such as laser gum surgery, gingival flap surgery, mucogingival surgery, or osseous surgery. These procedures are typically performed by a periodontist.

If gum disease is so advanced that teeth fall out or must be removed, dental implants can be a viable tooth replacement option in many cases.

Preventing Gum Disease

Practicing good oral hygiene, visiting your dentist regularly, promptly getting any dental treatment you need, and taking care of your overall health can significantly reduce your chances of gum disease. Daily flossing and using small interdental brushes or a Water Pik to flush out debris between teeth can keep your whole mouth healthy. It’s also important to be aware of risk factors that could make you prone to periodontal disease, including:
  • Diabetes
  • Tobacco use and smoking
  • Use of steroids, cancer therapy drugs, calcium channel blockers, anti-seizure medications, and oral contraceptives
  • Pregnancy
  • Aging
  • Worn or damaged fillings, crowns, and bridges
  • Crooked or overlapping teeth
If you have any of these risk factors, talk to your dentist about whether periodontal treatment may be appropriate for you.

Symptoms Of Periodontal Disease

Although gum disease can show no symptoms, there are common signs to look out for:
  • Swollen, red, tender gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Chronic bad breath or bad taste in your mouth
  • Gum recession
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Pus between your teeth and gums
  • Changes in your bite
  • Partial dentures that no longer comfortably fit
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s best to see your dentist as soon as possible. The sooner you get started with periodontal treatment, the better your chances will be for restoring your oral health and saving your teeth.

Contact Us To Schedule An Appointment

Greg DeVor, DDS is dedicated to helping patients of all ages improve and maintain their dental health. To learn more about how our experienced team can help treat periodontal disease and the other services we offer, request an appointment online or call our office at 216-221-1438 today. We look forward to serving your family’s dental care needs.
Gingivitis Gingivitis
(bleeding gums)
Periodontitis Periodontitis
Advanced Periodontitis Advanced Periodontitis