Periodontal Gum Care
One of the most common dental conditions, experienced by millions of Americans, is gum disease. Periodontal (gum) care at our dental practice can not only save you from severe dental damage and tooth loss, it may even help reduce the risk of developing overall health problems that can be attributed to gum disease. Our esteemed Beverly Hills cosmetic dentist Kevin Sands, DDS and his experienced team offer an array of state-of-the-art periodontal treatments, including laser care for gum disease.
Gum Disease Overview
Over time, plaque and bacteria can build up in the mouth, leading to gum disease that can cause tooth and gum damage. In its early stages, gum disease is often referred to as gingivitis, which is often characterized by swollen, red, bleeding, or receding gums. If left untreated, a periodontal infection can ultimately destroy the bone surrounding your teeth, and may cause you to lose your teeth. Periodontal disease has also been linked to serious health problems, such as heart attack, diabetes, respiratory infections, and stroke. Although it cannot be cured, gum disease can be controlled with dental treatment. The removal of harmful bacteria from the gums can stop the infection from getting worse, and regular check-ups can keep it under control.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, these can be indications of gum disease:
- Pain along the gumline
- Sensitive, red, or inflamed gums
- Gums that easily bleed
- Discharge of pus around the gum line or between teeth
- Enlarged gum pockets between gum tissue and teeth
- Receding gums
- Recurring bad breath or foul taste in the mouth
- Shifting teeth or changes in bite
- Spaces between teeth
- Loose permanent teeth or loss of permanent teeth
- Change in fit of partial dentures
Periodontal Disease Treatment
Dr. Sands can examine your teeth and gums in a dental evaluation. If any signs of gingivitis or gum disease are seen, he may recommend preventive care steps so the condition does not worsen. If signs of advanced periodontal disease are present, Dr. Sands can create a personalized treatment plan for you.
One of the advanced techniques he may use is called scaling and root planing. This non-surgical treatment can be helpful in removing tartar from above and below the gumline and reducing rough spots on the tooth root where bacteria collects.
Another nonsurgical technique that Dr. Sands may use in periodontal disease treatment is advanced laser therapy. Dr. Sands and his team can utilize a state-of-the-art dental laser to address bacterial infection surrounding the tooth root. The laser can also be used to disinfect the treated areas and reseal the gum pockets. The gums should then firmly attach themselves to clean and healthy areas of the teeth after this treatment. For patients who have experienced traditional gum disease treatments, they may find laser dentistry to be more comfortable.
Benefits of Laser Periodontal Treatment
Laser periodontal treatment offers a variety of benefits, including:
- The treatment typically involves little to no discomfort
- Minimally invasive
- No stitches or sutures necessary
- Long-lasting results with proper at-home oral care
- Faster healing
- Less swelling or bleeding
- Shorter procedure time
- Can be ideal for patients with conditions such as hemophilia, HIV, or diabetes
The Importance of Healthy Gums
Brushing the teeth twice per day is a routine that most patients are accustomed to, but often in this process the gums are an afterthought. Nevertheless, it is important to keep the gums clean and free of plaque and tartar so periodontal disease does not set in. Essential steps to maintaining oral health include properly brushing the teeth, flossing hard-to-reach areas, and visiting the dentist at least twice a year for exams and cleanings. If periodontal disease develops, it can be treated and controlled, but not cured. Healthy gums are also crucial for patients having a dental implant procedure, as gum disease can negatively impact the rate at which the gums heal.
Gum Disease Frequently Asked Questions
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease (gum disease), is the buildup of bacteria and tartar that is causing tooth decay and/or damage to the gums. It is the number one cause of tooth loss in the U.S. In its early stages, periodontal disease is characterized by inflammation (gingivitis) or infection in your mouth’s soft tissues. Signs of gum disease can include bleeding and/or receding gums, red or swollen gums, loose teeth, and tooth loss.
How can I avoid gum disease?
Making a healthy change in your diet and quitting the use of tobacco products can have a positive impact in keeping gum disease at bay. Research from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research shows that former smokers reduce their likelihood of contracting periodontal disease by almost half after dropping the habit. However, some of the most beneficial steps involve implementing a thorough dental hygiene routine and seeing the dentist for check-ups at least twice per year.
What happens if gum disease goes untreated?
If left untreated, periodontal disease can advance and lead to the loss of tissue and bone that support your teeth. Over time, this type of loss may become more severe and teeth may shift in the mouth, making it difficult to eat or speak. It could also result in tooth loss and heighten your risk of other general health conditions, such as stroke, heart disease, and others.
Is the laser treatment method painful?
Many patients find that the laser treatment option for periodontal disease is actually more comfortable than more traditional methods. A general anesthetic is not needed with this type of treatment, but if you suffer from dental anxiety, we do offer sedation dentistry options.
Laser dentistry also has an array of cosmetic uses at our dental office, such as addressing a gummy smile with gum recontouring. For more information on periodontal disease treatment, or to schedule an appointment, please contact Dr. Kevin Sands today.