Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults. In fact, nearly half of all Americans will have the condition at some point in their lives. Gum disease starts as an infection in the gums and eventually causes bone loss if left untreated. Therefore, it is important to address gum disease as early as possible to prevent the issue from worsening. At Precision Dentistry, Dr. Gol offers nonsurgical periodontal treatments to eliminate infection-causing bacteria and treat gum disease.
The Stages of Gum Disease
Plaque accumulates on the teeth and along the gums every day. If these deposits are not removed through brushing and flossing, the bacteria in the plaque will begin to irritate the gums. As a result, the gums become red, tender, and swollen. They may even bleed.
Fortunately, gingivitis can be completely reversed with a regular dental cleaning and increased oral hygiene. However, if not addressed promptly, it can develop into periodontitis.
At this point, the infection above the gums has also seeped below the gum line, causing the supporting jawbone to erode. As a result, deep periodontal pockets form around the roots of the teeth, where further plaque and debris accumulate.
Because of the bone loss that has begun, these areas cannot be reached with brushing and flossing. To address the issue, nonsurgical treatments, such as scaling and root planning, must be performed by your hygienist.
If periodontitis continues untreated, the bone around the teeth roots will continue to wear away, and the gum tissue will pull away from the teeth. This can lead to mobility and eventual tooth loss.
Advanced periodontitis requires surgical intervention. At this stage, Dr. Gol will likely refer you out to a periodontist, or gum specialist. During periodontal surgery, incisions are made along the gum line, and the gums are moved back away from the teeth. This allows the surgeon to clean out the infection and bacteria effectively. If severe bone loss or gum recession has occurred, tissue grafting may also be necessary to restore your oral health.
Nonsurgical Scaling and Root Planing
As aforementioned, mild to moderate periodontitis can be addressed with nonsurgical treatments. Scaling and root planning – sometimes referred to as a deep dental cleaning – is similar to a routine cleaning with your dentist or hygienist. However, in this case, local anesthesia is administered to numb the gums so the clinician can reach deep under the gum line without causing discomfort. Using ultrasonic instruments and hand scalers, the hygienist or dentist will clean the teeth and smooth out the root surfaces to deter further plaque from reattaching. Next, an antimicrobial rinse is used to irrigate the pockets around the roots.
In most cases, scaling and root planing takes two office visits to complete, as we generally work on one side of your mouth at a time. Each appointment takes approximately one hour.
After scaling and root planing, patients will return to our office for a periodontal re-evaluation. During this visit, Dr. Gol will reevaluate and measure the pockets around the teeth to determine if periodontal therapy has been successful. Once gum disease is stabilized, patients will be placed on a three-month cleaning schedule to maintain their progress and help prevent relapse.
Contact Our Columbia, MD Dental Practice
As you can see, the more advanced the disease, the more invasive the treatments necessary to address the problem. That’s why it is so important to treat gum disease as soon as possible. If you notice red, swollen, tender, or bleeding gums, schedule a visit with Dr. Gol right away. Make an appointment online or call our office at (410)-884-0262.