The CDC says periodontal disease, also called gum disease, is one of two biggest threats to dental health. In the US, 47.2% (almost half the population) of adults aged 30 and above have some form of periodontal disease. In Texas, the prevalence of gum disease is 48.25% (the fifth highest by states).
What is gum disease?
Put simply, gum disease is the result of infections and inflammation of the tissues and bone that surround, support, and hold your teeth in place.
Technically, there are seven categories of periodontal diseases to describe the stages of progression. For simplicity, these could be classified in two:
- Gingivitis; where damage is reversible with proper oral hygiene
- Destructive periodontal disease, or often just called periodontitis; where damage is irreversible and treatment is necessary
Tartar is often pale yellow or brown. And brushing cannot remove it.
As the buildup and progression of plaque and tartar continues, they’d stay longer on teeth, and the bacteria would cause inflammation of the gum (gingiva). Initially, this inflammation is confined to the soft tissues above the bone level. And the gums become red, swollen, and can bleed easily.
It is this first, mild, initial stage of periodontal disease that is called gingivitis. It would not lead to any loss of bone or core tissues (the periodontal ligaments) that hold the teeth in place.The trio of regular brushing, flossing, and regular cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist; will usually be enough to reverse gingivitis.
However, if gingivitis is not halted, it would almost always advance to periodontitis. Since periodontitis is the form of gum disease that necessitates treatment, many use both terms interchangeably.
Periodontitis, much like gingivitis, is a portmanteau of periodontium and –itis. The periodontium comprises the specialized tissues that both surround and support the teeth; and affix them to the jawbones.
The gums pull away from the teeth and form spaces (deepened sulcus) called periodontal pockets. These pockets become infected. Eventually the spread of the plaque below the gum line, bacteria toxins, and your body’s immune response to infection cause progressive breakdown of the periodontium.
There’d be loss (destruction) of cementum, periodontal ligament fibers, alveolar bone, which is left unchecked will lead to loosening of the teeth. And the teeth may eventually fall off or have to be removed.
Poor oral hygiene
Female hormonal changes
Other illnesses, syndromes, and treatments
Bridges that don't fit properly
Gum Disease Treatment Options
The foundation of effective, successful gum disease treatment is establishing and maintaining excellent oral hygiene—brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and rinsing with antimicrobial mouthwash at least once a day.
- Scaling and Root Planing
The initial therapy to establish gum health involves mechanical removal of the microbial plaque and tartar using specialized curettes. It is called scaling and root planing (SRP) or deep cleaning. Scaling refers to the process of scraping off tartar from above and below the gum line. While root planing refers to the process of removing rough spots on the tooth root where pathogens gather.
- Laser Surgery
Laser surgery for gum disease, also called LANAP. Gum therapy is mainly about removing tartar in periodontal pockets. Laser gum surgery uses laser (an intense and narrow beam of light of a single wavelength) to not only remove tartar but also to vaporize infected or diseased pocket-lining epithelium (debridement) without causing damage to the underlying connective tissue.It also slows or stops loss of attachment, reduces pocket depth, and stimulates regeneration of the periodontium.
Benefits of Lanap
Laser surgery is less invasive
Decreased recovery time
Reduces the risk of infection
Reduces exposure and post-op sensitivity
You may experience mild soreness at the treated areas. Soreness or pain experienced is usually mild. And it would not considerably affect your ability to carry out your daily routine, such as speaking, eating, and drinking. Taking pain medication like ibuprofen should be sufficient to alleviate any pain you feel.
You may notice slight discoloration of the gum tissues around the teeth. This is temporary.
Post-op instructions will mandate you not to brush or floss treated areas for a specific time (usually 7 to 10 days after surgery).
You’d also be mandated to stay on a soft diet.
Avoid smoking, as it interferes with the healing process.
Maintain good oral hygiene after you get the thumbs up and keep your dental appointments
Keeping the growth of plaque and buildup of tartar in check is not a one-time thing. It is a continuous process. And it is essential to restoring and maintaining good oral health during and after gum treatment. Come visit us near Carrollton Texas today.