Periodontal Disease Treatment – Bonita Springs, FL
Maintaining Healthy Gums for Brighter Smiles
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, affects more than half of adults over the age of 30 in the US. After the age of 35, this number jumps to 80%, and gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss for this demographic. At Pelican Landing Dental, we do our utmost to help patients from Bonita Spring, Estero, and all of Southwest Florida prevent gum disease and maintain their healthiest smiles. Unfortunately, even our best efforts aren’t enough to prevent this insidious oral health condition for every patient, but we do offer a wide array of treatments to renew oral health following gum disease. If you’re suffering from gum disease, call our office to schedule an appointment right away.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease occurs when the soft tissues protecting the roots of your teeth become infected. The earliest form of gum disease is gingivitis; at this point, a buildup of plaque and tartar causes the gums to become inflamed and bleed more easily. No permanent damage is done at this point, and the condition could still be reversible with thorough cleanings. At some point, though, untreated ginigivitis could progress to periodontitis, which is a much more severe condition. The gums will start to pull away from the teeth and form pockets. Also, the underlying bone tissue will start to break down. The ultimate result of periodontitis is usually tooth loss.
Signs of Gum Disease
The symptoms of gum disease may be subtle at first. In many cases, you won’t even feel pain until the later stages of the infection. In many cases, however, there are a few different warning signs you might notice:
- You may find blood on your toothbrush or dental floss.
- Your gums will often look redder and more swollen than usual.
- Your gums could noticeably recede, leaving your teeth looking longer than normal and creating periodontal pockets.
- Your teeth can become loose or start to shift; in some cases, the way they fit together might change.
As soon as you notice symptoms that might be related to gum disease, call our office. You should also continue to visit us twice a year for checkups even if you don’t think there’s anything wrong with your mouth; we may end up finding warning signs that you’ve overlooked.
Treatment Options for Gum Disease
To completely treat gum disease, all harmful bacteria need to be removed, and the gums need to be given the chance to reattach to the teeth. To achieve these goals and stop the disease from getting any worse, we may offer a few different treatment options based on your situation. For more advanced conditions, we’ll normally recommend scaling and root planing sometimes accompanied by antibiotic therapy.
Scaling & Root Planing
In the earliest stages of gum disease, commonly referred to as gingivitis, we will likely begin renewing oral health with more frequent professional teeth cleanings. Coupled with improved at home care, this may be effective in reversing damage and restoring healthy smiles. However, if we’re unable to diagnose and begin treatments in these early stages, we’ll need to move on to more advanced solutions. In most situations, this means scaling and root planing. These treatments are almost always completed together. Scaling is the systematic removal of all plaque and tartar buildup. Root planing is the smoothing of tooth roots to prevent future buildup from occurring. Following this initial treatment, we will likely recommend professional cleanings at least three times each year, and patients will need to make sure their at home hygiene routine is thorough.
Plaque is a byproduct of the bacteria that live in our mouths. These bacteria are a necessary part of our digestion process, but the plaque they produce can create tooth decay and gum disease. In most cases, our saliva is able to neutralize the acidic plaque, which is then removed during daily brushing and flossing. However, when the level of acid in the mouth overwhelms the ability of saliva to neutralize it, the result is plaque buildup, weakened tooth enamel, and irritated soft tissue. For this reason, patients who are suffering from gum disease benefit from a reduction in the number bacteria in the mouth. This is accomplished through oral or topical antibiotic therapy.
How to Maintain Gum Health
- Visit our office at least twice a year for professional cleanings.
- Brush and floss to eliminate plaque and remove food particles.
- Use antibacterial mouth rinse to lower the levels of bacteria in your oral cavity.
- If you use tobacco, give up the habit as soon as possible.
- Keep your stress under control in order to maintain a healthy, functioning immune system.
- Maintain a nutritious diet filled with vitamins E and C to make it easier for your body to repair damaged tissue.
- Get a mouthguard if you clench and grind your teeth at night. (Excessive grinding could put excessive pressure on the gum tissue supporting the teeth.)