Gum Disease Treatment in St. Charles, MO
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is an inflammatory condition that affects the soft tissue and bone that support your teeth. Gum disease is the leading cause of 70% of adult tooth loss, and three out of four people will suffer from this disease in their lifetime. Though common, gum disease is highly preventable and typically an indication of poor oral hygiene. The signs and symptoms of gum disease are:
- Loose teeth/teeth loss
- Swollen gums
- Puss between teeth and gums
- Persistent bad breath
- Tender gums
- Painful chewing
- Bright red or purple gums
- Receding gums
- Bleeding gums
- Change in bite and jaw alignment
Upon noticing these factors of gum disease, it is imperative to reach out to professionals before it progresses. Some common types of gum diseases are:
- Gingivitis – The very start and mildest form of gum disease, where the gums become red, swollen, and tender, causing them to bleed easily during routine oral care. Gingivitis is typically not destructive and can be divided into four groups: acute, subacute, recurrent, and chronic.
- Mild peritonitis – this is commonly the result of untreated gingivitis and can result in the gums pulling away from the teeth, causing the crevice between the gum and teeth to deepen.
- Chronic Periodontitis – This is the most common type of gum disease and is caused by plaque buildup that involves slow deterioration in the gums and bones that support your teeth.
- Advanced Periodontitis – The most advanced stage of gum disease will show significant deepening of periodontal pockets, bone loss, and potential receding gums around the teeth. Teeth may also loosen and need extracting.
Gum Disease Treatment
The good news about gum disease? It can typically be treated successfully. In it’s very early and most mild stages, treatment may simply include a good cleaning from your dental team. Though, anything past gingivitis will likely involve a special kind of non-surgical deep cleaning called scaling and root planing. For a more detailed explanation:
- Scaling is the careful removal of plaque bacteria from the tooth’s surface just below the gum line. There are typically two methods of scaling dentists use. If your dentist uses handheld tools, they will scrape the plaque from the tooth using metal instruments called a dental scaler and curette. Alternatively, your dentist may also use an ultrasonic device to scale your teeth with its vibrating metal tip combined with a cold water spray. The tip is meant to chip tarter deep in the pocket of your gum as the water flushes it away.
- Root planing is a procedure that often follows scaling and is characterized as an even deeper reach to address the tooth’s root. Root planing smooths the surface of the root so the gum can reattach properly.
After these minor procedures, a follow-up visit will be scheduled to ensure that the effects of scaling and root planing were successful. At this point, many patients do not require further active treatment but are advised to keep up on preventative treatment to keep gum disease from returning.
When Surgery is Necessary
Sometimes, scaling and root planing isn’t enough treatment on its own. If periodontal pockets do not heal after these procedures, surgery may be necessary to remove inflamed tissue better and reduce the damage to the bone that has formed around the teeth. Enlarged pockets provide the perfect housing for bacteria to live and eat away at bone and tissue. Surgery will allow your dentist to remove plaque and tartar from these hard-to-reach areas under the gum and along the roots to eliminate the increase in bacteria. This will intern help repair the bone and tissue and help reduce pocket size. The different types of gum disease surgeries are:
- Flap surgery – This type of surgery is generally for those people who have tartar deposits in deep pockets and involves lifting the gums off of the teeth to remove any buildup. After the area is cleaned, your gums will be stitched into place to hug your teeth.
- Bone grafting – This type of surgery is for when the bone surrounding the root of the root is damaged or destroyed and needs new bone as a replacement. This can be the person’s bone, a manufactured bone, or a donated bone, but the point is to hold the tooth in place and help it regrow.
- Guided tissue regeneration – This is when a dental surgeon places a small piece of mesh-like material between a person’s bone and gum tissue. The material will prevent the gum from growing into the space where the bone is meant to be, allowing the bone and connective tissue to regrow appropriately.
- Tissue grafting – This type of surgery is necessary when there is a loss of gum tissue that causes gum line recession. This surgery involves the removal of tissue from one part of the body and reattaching it to the area where the gum line has lowered. This tissue is often taken from the roof of the mouth and is intended to reduce the risk for further damage but also covers any exposed roots.
Surgery can also help to shrink pocket depth and make it easier for you to keep your teeth clean. Once any procedures are completed, your dentist will advise you to visit in regular intervals to ensure your gum disease has diminished. During this time, you will want to keep up with preventive dentistry to keep any gum disease away for good.
Keeping Gum Disease Away for Good
Once your gum disease is under control, it is very important for you to practice preventative methods on your own time. Preventive dentistry can significantly improve your chances of successful treatment for gum disease and can also reduce your chance of developing it again. Some vital steps you can take after surgery include:
- Brush your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles that will not be too rough on your gum line and fluoride-containing toothpaste.
- Clean between your teeth every day. This is to remove any plaque or bits of food that get stuck between your teeth and eventually cause problems. You can use dental floss, interdental brushes, or “water-picks.”
- Don’t use tobacco! Not only does it put you at a higher risk for cancer and other life-threatening diseases, but it can also make gum disease worse and harder to treat.
- Keep up with your dental appointments. This is a big one. Donahue Dental in St. Charles, MO is ready to perform professional cleanings at least twice a year to keep any gum disease symptoms at bay. Schedule an appointment today!
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