Periodontal Therapy

Untreated periodontal disease (gum disease) can destroy your health. This condition is the leading cause of tooth loss among the adult population. Moreover, the infection associated with this condition is powerful enough to erode the gingiva and the jawbones. Detecting and treating periodontal disease as soon as possible is the best way to secure a good prognosis and control over the state of your oral health. Brown Family Dentistry offers diagnostic services and periodontal therapy to help combat the far-reaching effects of gum disease.

Diagnosing Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease)

Our team looks for signs of periodontal (gum disease) during every checkup and dental cleaning. If people keep regular appointments, they have a much higher chance of detecting issues with gum health early on. Early intervention may involve receiving regular dental cleanings and improving one’s oral hygiene regimen.

If checkups or cleanings reveal that periodontal disease is more advanced, our dentists may recommend other treatment options such as periodontal therapy (scaling and root planing and/or medications). Diagnosing and staging periodontal disease involves a physical examination of the gingiva – particularly the depth and width of periodontal pockets between teeth. Periodontal pockets form when tartar accumulates at the gum line. Tartar accumulation is typically caused by improper or inadequate oral hygiene. As tartar builds, the gums will recede from teeth and tartar will continue to build up along the gums and in between teeth. Periodontal disease is staged by measuring the size of these pockets and examining the appearance and feel of the gingiva. Once periodontal disease has been staged, our team can develop a custom treatment plan.

Scaling and Root Planing

brown-family-dentistry-ft-worth-tx-scaling-root-planingA popular and effective method for controlling the progression of gum disease is providing periodontal therapy (scaling and root planning).  While these are technically two different forms of periodontal therapy, they are performed together. Scaling involves using dental instruments to gently remove tartar from teeth. Removing tartar in patients with more advanced gum disease involves accessing the gingiva below the gum line to reach tartar that has built up along the root surface of teeth. Once tartar is removed, root planing is performed to smooth the roots of teeth. Smoothing the roots of teeth helps prevent the attachment of new tartar.

The objective of these non-surgical procedures is to remove disease causing agents such as dental plaque and tartar or calculus, which cause gingival inflammation and disease.  Periodontal therapy (scaling and root planning) is normally performed in increments by dividing the mouth into quadrants.  When treatment is successful, the most important benefit of periodontal therapy is that it will arrest or halt the progression of the disease moving the disease into remission.

Other Treatment Options

Sometimes our team may suggest special oral hygiene tools like water irrigators or mouth rinses to decrease harmful oral bacteria and thwart the development of more surface irritants like tartar. In some cases, an antibiotic called Arestin is placed directly in the infected areas, or pockets, in your gums.  This antibiotic kills the bacteria that is causing the infection.  In other instances, prescription medication may be used to control the infection present in the gingiva. For those with complex cases of periodontal disease, our team may refer patients to a specialist.

If you are concerned about gum disease or if it’s been a while since your last checkup, call Brown Family Dentistry to reserve an appointment.

Periodontal Maintenance

Periodontal maintenance is an important dental treatment that helps to keep periodontal disease (gum disease) from advancing.

Periodontal disease can be healed but not cured. It can become active again at any time. Regular periodontal maintenance is one way to ensure that any flare ups in the gum infection is found early when we can still treat it conservatively with non-surgical treatment. Following up with excellent homecare is another critical factor in controlling the disease and experiencing successful results. Drs. Brown and Brown and our dental hygienists will guide you in understanding more about this disease and the details of periodontal maintenance.

Why is oral hygiene so important?

Based on a recent study published in the Journal of Periodontology, about one in seven 26-year-olds already has well-established periodontal disease, a major cause of tooth loss in adults.  The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good teeth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily and regular check-ups and cleanings with your dentist.

Periodontal disease and tooth decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film, which sticks to your teeth at the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.

Periodontal diseases can be accelerated by a number of different factors. However, it is mainly caused by the bacteria found in dental plaque, a sticky colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. If not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar).

Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include:

  • Family History of Periodontal (gum) Disease
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Other Systemic Conditions
  • Stress
  • Clenching and grinding teeth
  • Medication
  • Poor nutrition

Common Periodontal Disease Questions

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease (gum disease) is an aggressive oral health condition that contributes to a variety of health problems. Advanced periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults. Gum disease means that the gingiva is inflamed and infected. This normally begins when tartar accumulates along the gum line, on teeth, and in between teeth.

Since tartar is the hardened form of plaque, it is teaming with oral bacteria. The presence of tartar and bacteria will cause the gingiva to pull away from teeth (recede) as a response to irritants. As tartar continues to accumulate, gum recession will become more apparent and the gingiva will become infected. Without professional intervention, periodontal disease will progress. As it progresses, this condition can become so advanced that it is not curable, only manageable.

How can I prevent periodontal disease?

Preventing periodontal disease can save your teeth, gums, and jawbones from the destructive nature of this oral health condition. Preventing gum disease begins with a commitment to your oral health. Those committed to their oral health should keep routine appointments with their dentist for checkups and cleanings (preventive maintenance). They should also practice thorough oral hygiene at home. Visiting the dentist regularly gives our team a chance to screen for signs of periodontal disease before the condition advances to its more destructive stages. Similarly, professional dental cleanings and proper oral hygiene at home help keep harmful bacteria under control and remove the accumulation of irritating substances.

If you notice changes in the appearance or feel of your gums, be sure to call Brown Family Dentistry to schedule an examination. Our team will closely evaluate your gum health to help you make informed treatment decisions.

What causes gum disease?

A few factors can contribute to periodontal disease but the primary cause is the accumulation of debris like tartar and harmful oral bacteria. Substances such as tartar accumulate when we do not practice proper oral hygiene. As we leave behind plaque by improper or inadequate brushing and flossing, it will harden into tartar, which cannot be removed by brushing or flossing alone. As tartar accumulates at the gum line, gums will recede and periodontal pockets will form.

What is gingivitis? 

Gingivitis is a mild form of periodontal disease that can be prevented and cured with appropriate action. Normally, gingivitis occurs after the gums have become inflamed by an irritant like tartar. This inflammation then leaves areas of the gingiva vulnerable to infection because bacteria easily infect inflamed tissue.

Some patients may experience bleeding during flossing and brushing with gingivitis and more advanced forms of periodontal disease; however, gingivitis may not produce noticeable symptoms in some. This is why routine checkups are so important. Frequent visits to our practice allow our team to monitor the health of your gums very closely. If our checkups or cleanings reveal signs of gum disease, we will help you get your oral health back on track with the proper treatment regimen.

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