Assessing Your Level of Gum Disease
We will gently probe the space between your teeth and gums – called a “pocket” – to accurately measure and chart the depth.
Healthy gums are firm, pink and do not bleed easily. There is no recession of the gums, and teeth are held firmly in place with no damage to supporting bone structure.
Mild gum disease (gingivitis)
Gingivitis is the mildest form and causes the gums to redden, swell, and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort at this stage. Gingivitis is caused by the accumulation of bacteria on the teeth and is easily reversible with professional cleaning and good oral home care.
Moderate gum disease (mild periodontitis)
Pocket depths of five to six millimeters indicate the presence of moderate periodontitis. We treat this stage with scaling and root planing, a process of cleaning below the gum and smoothing the surface of the tooth to deter bacteria and allow the gums to reattach. We may also use a soft-tissue laser to disinfect pockets and insert a local, time-released antibiotic.
Severe gum disease (moderate to advanced periodontitis)
When pocket depths reach seven millimeters or greater, you are at the highest risk for irreversible damage. Severe gum disease can lead to bone and tissue destruction. The most advanced form of this disease includes extensive bone loss, and teeth often become loose and may have to be removed.
We treat severe with deep cleaning below the gum line and a soft-tissue laser to disinfect the pocket. We also use DNA saliva tests to pinpoint the specific bacteria present in your mouth so that we may prescribe an antibiotic that eliminates that particular strain.
Our Effective and Gentle Gum Disease Treatment
We employ the necessary combination of the following methods to eradicate gum disease, and provide coaching to help you take control of your oral health at home.
Ultrasonic scalers use vibrations to gently remove hardened tartar. They are often considered to be more effective than hand tools for treating pocket depths of four millimeters or more because the specially designed tips can reach deeper into the gum pockets, as well as into nooks and crannies. Ultrasonic scalers are also equipped with a water flow that flushes away bacteria and promotes healing.
Deep cleaning can be completed in a shorter time than with hand tools, and the small tips make the process more comfortable for you.
Non-surgical laser therapy for gum disease
Handheld diode lasers offer a gentle, non-invasive means of treating gum disease without scalpels and sutures. The precise incision of the laser removes diseased tissue and eliminates bacteria while leaving healthy issue intact.
Lasers seal blood vessels as they cut, so there is no bleeding and minimal swelling. Treatment with lasers rather than scalpels greatly reduces the time of the procedure itself and the post-operative healing process.
Oral DNA testing
Research over the past 10 years has shown that genetics contribute to a person’s susceptibility. We perform DNA testing so that we can determine the best antibiotic treatment to combat your periodontal disease.
Eliminating bacteria with antibiotic therapy
ARESTIN® therapy contains tiny microspheres filled with a powerful, time-release antibiotic. These microspheres are placed exactly where you need them, between the teeth and gums, to help eliminate any bacteria that may remain after a scaling and planing procedure. However, treating the diseased pockets with soft-tissue lasers eliminates the need for antibiotics in the majority of cases.
Perio Protect targets oral bacteria in the pockets around your gums. This treatment takes just a few minutes a day, and doesn’t use antibiotics to control your gum disease.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
- Persistent bad breath
- Gums that are pulling away from teeth
- A change in your bite (how your teeth meet)
- Bleeding gums
- Loose teeth
- Signs of infection, such as redness, swelling or pus
Importance of Oral Health
Gum disease and women
The hormonal changes that women experience during various stages of their life can affect the flow of blood to their gums and increase their risk for gum disease.
A common side effect of oral contraceptives is inflamed gums, and as women reach menopause they may experienced a decrease in the saliva flow that rinses away bacteria and debris.
Women who are pregnant also need to be diligent with their oral care, as any infection they have can pose a risk to their unborn child. Gum disease has been linked to an increased risk of pregnancy complications.
Gum disease and heart disease
While a clear, precise scientific link between heart disease and gum disease has yet to be established, we know that it is linked to a higher risk of heart disease. We also know that treatment can reduce your heart risks. Similar types of bacteria and inflammation are present in both conditions. C-reactive protein (CRP) is elevated with moderate to severe gum disease and is also used to assess risk of a heart condition.
To make an appointment, call (910) 692-4450 or click here to request an appointment online.