Good oral hygiene practices are essential for keeping your mouth healthy. However, even those with good oral care practices can still develop issues, including gum disease. These issues should not be ignored. At Karl Zeren DDS, we can diagnose a wide number of issues affecting the gums as well as other supporting structures, and provide you with the treatments you need to restore the health of your mouth and your beautiful smile.
What Is A Periodontist?
A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in periodontics. Periodontics is one of 9 dental specialties. All dentists, including general dentists, attend four years of dental school. As periodontists, we go on to attend an additional 2 to 3 years of formal education, lectures, and professional training. We specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and other issues that affect your gums and the other supporting structures of your teeth. This includes gum disease.
Diagnosing And Treating Gum Disease
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a bacterial infection that causes your gums to become irritated and inflamed. Without treatment, gum disease only continues to worsen. Your gums pull away from your teeth, leading to the formation of periodontal pockets. Bacteria collect in these pockets. Over time, they grow deeper, and your gums recede. The bacteria eventually reach your periodontal ligaments and jawbone, weakening these supporting structures. Your teeth become loose and may even fall out.
As periodontists, we are experts at diagnosing gum disease in all different stages. We can also provide you with the treatment you need. Stages of gum disease include:
- Gingivitis. This is the earliest, and most overlooked, stage of gum disease. It is characterized by red, swollen gums that may bleed when you brush and floss.
- Mild to moderate periodontitis. During this stage of gum disease, pockets are forming between your gums and your teeth as the tissue pulls away from your teeth.
- Advanced periodontitis. This stage of gum disease is characterized by deep periodontal pockets, gum recession, and the weakening of the structures that support your teeth.
Procedures We Can Provide
There are some different treatments that we can provide to help restore your oral health, and improve the quality of your smile. The types of treatment you receive will depend upon the severity of your particular situation. Common treatments that we provide include:
- Scaling and root planing. This is a deep cleaning of your teeth. All surfaces of your teeth, both above and below the gums, are cleaned.
- Pocket reduction surgery. This surgical procedure is done when the periodontal pockets are too deep to clean with scaling and root planing. Incisions in the gums provide us with access to your teeth to effectively clean them so your gums can begin healing.
- Osseous surgery. This is a treatment performed when bacteria have begun to weaken your jawbone, which can cause bone defects. The procedure involves smoothing these defects and cleaning your teeth.
- Crown lengthening. This procedure involves removing excess gum tissue. While commonly used as a cosmetic treatment, crown lengthening can also aid in improving your periodontal health.
- Gum grafting. This is a procedure performed to help restore a natural, healthy gum line following gum recession.
- Guided tissue regeneration. This is a procedure performed to repair defects in your jawbone to stimulate the growth of new bone after bone loss. This aids in restoring strength to the bone so that your teeth regain more support.
- Dental implants. If you have suffered tooth loss, we can replace those missing teeth with dental implants.
With periodontics, we can provide you with the treatment you need to restore the health of your mouth and improve the quality of your smile.
What Is Periodontal Treatment?
Periodontal treatment is a nonsurgical treatment for periodontal disease that involves removing all of the buildups from the surfaces of your teeth, both above and below the gumline, including plaque, tartar, bacteria, and other debris. By removing the buildup from your teeth, your gums can begin reattaching to your teeth, and your mouth can begin to heal. This particular treatment involves scaling and root planing, basically a deep cleaning of your teeth, to achieve these goals.
How Is Periodontal Treatment Done?
Periodontal treatment, while nonsurgical, is still performed under a local anesthetic. Your gums may be tender, so numbing them allows you to remain calm and comfortable while we clean your teeth. The procedure begins with scaling. With the use of a scaler, we effectively scrape all of the buildups from the visible surfaces of your teeth. We take extra care around the gumline as well as just below the gumline. Removing this buildup allows the irritation to be removed from your gums, easing the inflammation.
Following scaling, we move on to root planing. Root planing is the cleaning of the tooth roots. Using specialized tools, we smooth the surfaces of your tooth roots, which makes it more difficult for any new bacteria to adhere. Once root planing is done, an antibacterial wash is used to destroy any bacteria that might still be hanging around. Once your treatment is complete, we schedule you for a follow-up 6 to 8 weeks later.
Follow-up is essential for ensuring that your gums are beginning to heal. If we find that your gums are not healing properly, the next step is periodontal maintenance. Periodontal maintenance is a series of regularly scheduled visits 2 to 6 months apart so that we can examine and clean your teeth so the healing process continues, restoring your oral health and your smile. With periodontal treatment, we can stop the progression of periodontal disease and help to restore the health of your mouth without surgery.