Gum Disease Treatment
Symptoms of Gum Disease
In its early stage, called gingivitis, gum disease includes the following symptoms:
- Gums prone to bleeding
- Red, swollen, tender gums
- Persistent bad breath or foul taste
Gum disease is much easier to treat in the early stages. Gingivitis can be controlled and treated with daily brushing and flossing to remove plaque and bacteria, as well as with regular dental checkups. At the advanced stages of gum disease, called periodontitis, it becomes much harder to control, and worse symptoms appear, including:
- Gums pull away from the teeth
- A change in the way teeth fit together when biting down
- Paremanent teeth becoming loose or separating
- A change in the fit of partial dentures
The Link Between Gum Disease and Overall Health
Gum Disease Risk Factors
Some things increase a person’s risk of developing gum disease. Risk factors include:
- Poor oral hygiene (from inadequate brushing and flossing)
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Crooked teeth (which are harder to keep clean)
- Certain medications
Periodontal Disease Treatment at Vero Dental
The American Academy of Periodontology treatment guidelines stress that periodontal health can sometimes be achieved in the least invasive and most cost-effective manner. This is often accomplished through a non-surgical periodontal treatment called scaling and root planing. Non-surgical periodontal therapy does have its limitations. When it does not achieve periodontal health, surgery may be indicated to restore periodontal health.
Scaling and root planing is different than a regular cleaning or periodontal maintenance. The procedure may need to be done in more than one appointment. The dental hygienist will do the scaling and root planing by carefully removing the plaque and calculus (tartar) from deep periodontal pockets and smoothing the roots of the teeth to remove bacterial toxins. This will allow the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the teeth. Typically, this is done with a local anesthetic to make sure that the patient is comfortable.
This kind of deep cleaning has been described as the gold standard of gum disease treatment. To get the gums healthy again, all that gunk needs to be cleaned out, which is what dental scaling and root planing do. While routine scaling helps prevent gum disease, scaling and root planing is a non-surgical treatment for existing gum disease. In cases of severe periodontitis, it may be recommended before gum surgery by the periodontist.
The scaling and root planing may be followed by adjunctive therapy such as local delivery antimicrobials and systemic antibiotics, as needed on a case-by-case basis. At Vero Dental, we use OralDNA to identify the specific bacteria causing the disease so we can treat the real source of the problem. Most periodontists would agree that after scaling and root planing, many patients can be stabilized long-term with the establishment of an ongoing maintenance therapy regimen to sustain oral health.