Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is the leading factor in adult tooth loss. The gums play such an important role in dental wellness, yet they do not seem to get as much attention as cavities do. At Atlantic Dentistry we offer periodontal care, through non-surgical and therapeutic treatments, with the goal of helping our patients to preserve their smile.
Identifying Gum Disease
The earliest stage of periodontal disease is gingivitis, which is much more common than many may be aware of. Gingivitis occurs when the unbrushed plaque on your teeth begins to accumulate against the gumlines. The gums respond to this accumulation with inflammation. You may start to notice that your gums bleed a little bit when you brush your teeth. The plaque will begin to calcify beneath the gums, against the roots of each nearby tooth. The gums will start to detach and form pockets around the teeth.
You are likely to start to see some recession in your gums, along with bleeding when you brush and floss. Your teeth may also start to feel loose when you apply pressure to them. Some patients also experience abscesses and other signs of infection.
During your examination, our dentist will measure the pockets surrounding your teeth. X-rays will also be a part of the examination so that the bone structure around each tooth can be evaluated. In some cases, patients will need bone grafts in order to preserve the structure surrounding some of the teeth.
Non-Surgical Treatment Options
There are several options for treating gum disease. While brushing and flossing are an important part of dental wellness, they are not going to effectively treat your periodontal disease. A professional dental cleaning can help to address some of the concerns you are facing. It can also help to identify the areas that are in need of more invasive treatment. A deep cleaning (also known as a periodontal scaling) and root planing, is more intensive than the traditional dental cleaning scheduled every six months.
The gums will be numbed and the gums will be deep cleaned using specialized dental tools that can clean teeth in their entirety. After this intense deep cleaning, you will be scheduled for follow up appointments every three to four months, so that your gum disease can be monitored. Some patients may have antibiotic medications placed beneath the gums. Yet others might be good candidates for a gum graft, which is a minor surgical procedure performed in our office.
Health Risks Linked to Gum Disease
Gum disease can take a toll on the health of your gums and your teeth. The health risks extend past the dental concerns. Periodontal disease has been linked with a number of health concerns, and risks factors that can have an impact on your physical health. There are direct correlations with periodontal disease and health issues that include heart attack, diabetes, stroke and sleep apnea. Reducing your risks for developing gum disease, or completely eliminating an active case, can help to give your body a better chance at staying healthy. Untreated gum disease can advance quite rapidly, resulting in bone loss. Extracting the remaining teeth may prove to be the better treatment direction. Implants, bridges, and dentures can restore functionality and aesthetics.
Is it time to schedule your six month cleaning and checkup? These important routine appointments allow our dentist at Atlantic Dentistry to evaluate the health of your teeth and gums. Contact us to make an appointment that fits your schedule.