Gum Therapy (Periodontics)

[divider] Gum Therapy (Periodontics)

Periodontics is the field of dentistry that focuses on the gums. An estimated 75 percent of all adults in the United States have some form of periodontal or gum disease. This is an alarming number which shows that many of us are not paying attention to our dental health. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss.

What Causes Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease develops when food particles are not cleaned away by brushing and flossing leading to the formation of plaque. Bacteria love plaque and will grow and eat away tooth enamel and gum tissue. If the plaque hardens into tartar, it can’t be removed by brushing; only by the special tools of a hygienist.

If it’s been a while since your last dental cleaning, call us at (318) 869-2593 to schedule an appointment with our clinic today.

Individuals who are more susceptible to gum disease include those with weaker immune systems, undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy, or suffering from medical conditions like heart disease or diabetes.

Gingivitis: The Precursor to Periodontitis

Gum disease develops in two stages. First, is gingivitis or inflammation of the gums.

Symptoms of gingivitis include:

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  • swollen gums
  • redness
  • tenderness
  • bleeding when you brush
  • receding gums that expose lower parts of the teeth
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This is a mild form of gum disease which can easily be treated with some simple oral hygiene practices under the guidance and monitoring of our office. Once gingivitis has been resolved, maintaining proper oral hygiene can help keep it at bay. However, if you return to your old habits and forget dental care, the gingivitis may recur.

Periodontitis: The Major Cause of Tooth Loss

When gingivitis isn’t treated and resolved, periodontitis becomes the next stage of gum disease. At this stage, the gums continue to recede and pockets form between the gum and the tooth where food particles, plaque and tartar continue to build and spread. The danger here is that the infection and enamel erosion happens close the root and the underlying bone. This could potentially lead to painful abscesses, bone and tooth loss.

Once you’ve reached this stage, it’s impossible to completely cure it. You will need to manage it like a chronic illness and as much as possible, prevent any of your teeth from falling out.

Treating Periodontitis

The first treatment option for this advanced stage of gum disease is by scaling and root planing. This is a deep-cleaning method to remove all tartar above and below the gum line. After all tartar has been removed, the dentist will perform root planing which smooths out the exposed parts of the tooth root. This is necessary to remove any infected enamel to ensure that everything below the gum line is free from infection.

Once the disease has spread to the gums and the gums have receded, they will not grow back. The only option to protect teeth roots is a soft tissue (gum) graft. This is a surgical procedure that removes infected gum tissue, takes healthy gum tissue from another part of the mouth, and uses that to cover the area where infected gum tissue was removed.

If you are suffering from any signs of periodontal disease, call us immediately at (318) 869-2593 to schedule an appointment.

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