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Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Periodontal (gum) disease is a silent disease that affects the health of the supporting structures of the teeth, including the gums, the ligaments that support the teeth, and the bones that hold them in place. Once you have a periodontal condition, it cannot be cured, only maintained. We provide periodontal treatments to help you fight periodontal disease and to ensure you keep your teeth whenever possible. Through education, we help you understand your treatment options and then, with your input, proceed with providing the best treatments for you.

During the initial periodontal examination, our dental hygienist will measure how far from the gum line your gums attach to your teeth. There are three levels of nonsurgical treatment we can use to help you save your teeth. The type of treatment we proceed with depends on the severity of bone loss and your overall health. There are a number of nonsurgical treatments that can be used to help control the disease. Nonsurgical options include:

Prophylaxis: Gingivitis presents with general inflammation and usually only requires a regular dental cleaning, or prophylaxis. During this step, we remove plaque and tartar that has built up and hardened on the root surface just below the gum line. This material can only be removed with a professional cleaning. Typically, this procedure is recommended two to three times a year.

Debridement: Gingivitis coupled with periodontal pockets that are at risk of developing into a more advanced disease require a full mouth debridement. This level of professional dental cleaning is more aggressive than a regular prophylaxis but may not require anesthesia. After the debridement procedure, use of a prescription oral rinse for two weeks is recommended to aid in healing the supportive tissues. At the follow-up appointment, an additional periodontal screening is done to determine your level of healing.

Deep Cleaning: Periodontal inflammation, advanced bone loss, and tarter (calculus) build-up require a deep cleaning. This is still a nonsurgical procedure, but it’s performed under a local anesthetic. This allows the dental hygienist to remove plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line. The materials are scraped away through scaling, and necrotic (dead or dying) tissue is planed with instruments so the supporting tissue is better able to reattach to the root surface. Scaling and root planing is done every two to four years; because this is a reccurring disease that must be maintained between scalings, periodontal maintenance visits are scheduled every three to four months.

Professional placement of antibiotics in the periodontal pockets is often recommended as the ideal treatment to ensure attachment of the supporting tissue, including the bone that holds the teeth in place. These antibiotics are extremely effective in controlling periodontal disease.

If you have a periodontal condition that requires surgical treatment, we will refer you to a specialist called a periodontist.

Periodontal disease is often the cause of bad breath. When bacteria develop in the periodontal pockets at the base of teeth, bad odors result. Removing plaque and tartar professionally can assist your with curing or reducing breath odors.

Teeth cleaning and maintenance is important to your overall health, so call today (702) 299-6622 to schedule an appointment with our dental hygienist.