Periodontal Treatment: Keeping Gums Healthy and Strong
Periodontal care, which promotes the health and wellness of your gums, is essential to your oral health and overall wellness. If you suspect you have periodontal, or gum, disease, you are not alone. The majority of adults suffer from some form of periodontal disease. Although it may start out minor, with inflamed or bleeding gums when you floss, it is important you take steps to treat the condition and prevent it from progressing into a more serious form that requires more complex treatment. Fortunately, Drs. Ernest Robertson, Amber James, and Chayne Coston, and their professional team offer periodontal treatment to patients in Manhattan, New York, at the Harlem Center for Aesthetic Dentistry. Contact our dental practice today to schedule an appointment.
About Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that can take any number of forms, ranging from an inflammation of the gums to an infection that affects the soft tissue, bone, and ligaments that support the teeth. Within four hours of brushing our teeth, plaque starts to form. Brushing and flossing help to remove this plaque, but any that is left behind hardens to form tartar. Tartar can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist during routine dental cleanings.
Although a professional cleaning is a simple procedure, many patients fail to attend regular appointments. Unfortunately, this reluctance can result in oral health problems, even if they brush and floss their teeth daily. For example, when tartar is not removed, the bacteria cause an inflammation of the gums, or gingivitis. As a result, patients develop red, swollen gums that bleed easily when brushing or flossing. Fortunately, gingivitis is still a mild, early stage of gum disease, which can typically be easily reversed with proper dental hygiene.
If gingivitis is not caught and treated, it can progress into periodontitis, or inflammation around the teeth. During this stage, the gums start to pull away from the teeth, forming spaces, or pockets. Next, the plaque continues to spread beneath the gum line, resulting in a natural breakdown of the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place. In more extreme cases, the structure of the teeth, bone, and gums is so weakened that tooth loss can occur.
Symptoms of gum disease include:
- Chronic halitosis (bad breath)
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums
How to Treat Periodontal Disease
Depending on the severity of your case, one of our dentists may recommend additional dental procedures to help restore your dental health:
- Deep Cleaning: During this procedure, your dentist or hygienist will remove plaque through a method called scaling and root planing. Scaling involves scraping the tartar from above and below the gum line. Root planing smooths rough spots on the tooth root that commonly harbor germs to deter buildup in the future.
- Medication: Sometimes medication is used in conjunction with periodontal procedures. These typically consist of antibiotics, which are used to help fight infection, or an antimicrobial mouth rinse for controlling bacteria during or after treatment.
- Surgical Treatments: Occasionally, the pockets resulting from periodontitis remain after the deep cleaning and medication. In this case, your dentist or periodontist may recommend flap surgery. This simple procedure involves lifting the gums to remove the tartar before suturing the gums back in place so that the tissue fits snugly against the tooth. In addition to flap surgery, your dentist may also suggest bone or soft tissue grafts to help address any loss due to periodontitis.
Impact on Overall Health
Although periodontal disease most visibly affects your mouth and jaw bone, studies have shown that people with gum disease are more likely to develop heart disease, have a difficult time regulating blood sugar levels, and experience other serious health concerns. Other studies have linked women with unhealthy gums to pre-term or low birthweight babies. More research is needed; however, patients should still strive to maintain healthy gums to preserve their oral health.
Contact Our Dental Practice
Although a diagnosis of periodontal disease can be daunting, our dentists at Harlem Center for Aesthetic Dentistry are here to help restore your dental health. Contact our dental practice today to schedule an evaluation.