September is National Gum Care Month so as a part of our effort to bring awareness to this campaign, it’s important that we explain how you can maintain healthy gums and why periodontal treatment is so critical to your dental health and your overall health.
First things first: what is periodontal disease? Periodontitis is the scientific term for ‘gum disease’. It’s a severe infection that seriously damages your soft tissue and can destroy the bone that supports your teeth, if not properly treated. This typically leads to loose teeth or tooth loss. The good news is that it’s highly preventable and generally occurs due to poor oral hygiene. Brushing twice per day & flossing daily, along with regular dental checkups, can greatly reduce your chances of ever developing periodontitis.
Nearly all people who do not maintain good daily oral hygiene are at risk of developing gingivitis. If left untreated, this bacterial gum infection can progress from gingivitis to periodontitis, which, as we know, results in bone loss around your teeth. As the bone tissue is lost, the gum tissues detach from the teeth and form little dental pockets that provide an even better place for bacteria to live because they’re areas that your toothbrush and floss can’t reach. As periodontal disease advances leading to more bone loss, tooth loss can result. Part of this has to do with genetics since periodontal disease tends to run in families. The good news is that periodontal disease can be controlled, even at more advanced stages.
When it comes to periodontal treatment, we specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease, including treatment plans and the restoration of implants, as well as in the treatment of oral inflammation. Here is a closer look at our periodontal treatments and procedures:
An extraction is the official term for “pulling” teeth. It’s actually one of the most common dentistry procedures performed, along with fillings and cleanings. Most extractions can be performed in our office. Extremely complicated extractions, however, are referred to an oral surgeon or another dental specialist. Tooth loss can be a very sensitive subject and we want to ensure that you know what your tooth replacement options are before we select and perform a procedure.
When we use the term “deep cleaning”, we are referring to the periodontal procedure known as ‘scaling and root planing’. It is considered surgical because it involves removing unwanted debris (calculus or tartar and plaque) from the tooth or teeth below the gumline. Because this occurs below the level of the gum tissue, it is considered an invasive or surgical procedure. However, in reality, it is just the scraping or “scaling” of the teeth that we’ve all likely experienced above the gumline during a regular cleaning. The term “deep cleaning” is used because the scaling occurs below the gumline. Since it is below the gumline, we usually recommend the use of local anesthesia to numb the area.
Root Surface Debridement (RSD)
Similar to “deep cleaning” or “root-planing”, RSD is a more involved procedure. It requires careful & deliberate removal of calculus and plaque from the root surface. When healthy, the gum surrounding your tooth will fit in a small space, approximately 1-3mm; however, in active gum disease, the space enlarges and forms a pocket where bacteria, plaque and calculus build up. This can lead to gum inflammation and, eventually, gum disease. RSD is a procedure that goes deep into the periodontal pocket in an effort to clean the root surface while removing bacterial toxins. It’s often performed under local anesthesia for patient comfort with hand instruments and an ultrasonic device.
What exactly is a dental implant? Think of a dental implant as an artificial tooth root that is similar in shape to a screw. Unlike other forms of dental prostheses, dental implants are surgically placed into the jawbone to provide a much more natural look & feel to your tooth.
Have questions about periodontitis or any of periodontal treatment or procedural offerings? Just ask! Our goal is to ensure that you are educated with all of the dental health information that you need to make informed decisions and to keep your gums as healthy as they can be.