Periodontal (gum) disease has a slow and silent progression. Many people don’t realize they have the beginnings of this gum condition until it has developed into painful inflammation.
The best way to prevent gum disease is to take care of your teeth at home and visit the dentist regularly. At Lam & Welkie Dental, Dr. Lam watches for the signs of gum disease and if you already have been diagnosed with it, he’ll measure it and monitor any progression.
Periodontal disease is diagnosed through a process of gum and teeth measurement, x-rays, and overall oral health. But a diagnosis of this condition doesn’t have to be permanent. Dr. Lam will answer your questions and help you come up with a plan of action to conquer your gum disease or help minimize the effects.
Many patients are surprised when they learn that they have periodontal disease because it comes in many types. The beginning stage is called gingivitis, and it’s characterized by inflammation of the gums.
This inflammation can be specific to one area or it can be generalized and spread out. You’ll probably only notice it when you chew your food or brush or floss and the gums bleed. Some bleeding is normal, but if it is accompanied by red, puffy, and irritated gums, you could have gingivitis.
When gingivitis is left to progress without treatment, it can turn into periodontitis. This disease is more severe than its counterpart. In addition to the puffy and irritated gums, it can result in bone loss around the teeth.
The problem with this is that your teeth need the bones in order to keep them firmly in your mouth. Any weakening or cracks in them will cause your teeth to loosen and let infection set in more easily.
There are a few procedures that are commonly used to treat periodontitis, depending on the severity of your condition.
Localized and generalized periodontitis could be treated with a special type of cleaning called “scaling and root planing.” In this procedure, the patient is given a local anesthetic while the dentist removes tartar from the root surface of each tooth. This stops the bacteria that are building their homes in your gums and causing the disease to progress into the bone.
Once it’s determined that the planing was successful, the patient has periodontal maintenance about every three months to ensure the disease is not returning.
Should it be determined that the planing treatment was not successful or the disease came back, there may be more scaling and root planing completed. However, the dentist could recommend adjunctive periodontal therapies, too.
These include procedures such as laser-assisted periodontal therapy, where laser energy is used to target any necrotic tissue, get rid of it, and let the healthy tissue grow instead.
Chronic periodontitis affects nearly 35% of adults, so if you receive this diagnosis, you’re not alone. To treat it and prevent further degeneration of the bone and gums, you’ll need to seek professional dental care.
Lam & Welkie Dental and staff are ready to help you get control of your condition before it causes you to lose any teeth or have more pain