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Gum Disease Treatment
Periodontal (gum) care can help restore overall oral health and reverse early stages of gum disease before it progresses into a more serious condition—one that could even increase risks to general health. The experienced team at Vaccaro Aesthetic and Family Dentistry uses state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment technology to detect problems such as gum disease before they surface, as well as to help guide our recommendations for treatment once they are already present. Modern dental technology – for example, digital x-rays – not only helps to address concerns early on but may also enable our dentist in New Jersey, Dr. Matthew Vaccaro, and our experienced dental hygienists to recommend less invasive treatment options to counteract gum disease.
While many cases of periodontal disease can be effectively treated by our dental hygienists, Vaccaro Aesthetic and Family Dentistry also has an in-house periodontist who is available for appointments at our practice every other Wednesday. Instead of having to refer individuals to another office for periodontal care, this can help make the process more convenient for patients who need treatment for particularly severe gum disease.
- What Is Gum Disease?
- Causes and Risk Factors for Gum Disease
- Symptoms of Gum Disease
- Stages of Periodontal Disease
- Gum Disease Treatment
If it’s been a while since your last routine dental appointment, we invite you to give us a call. We warmly welcome new patients at our dental office in the Chatham and Morristown, NJ area. Whether it’s been six months or six years since your last spin in the dental chair, rest assured you’ll get no judgments from us. We simply want to put you back on track to taking good care of your oral health.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, also referred to as periodontal disease, occurs when plaque and bacteria accumulate between the teeth and gums along the gumline. Periodontal disease is actually very common and can develop even with stringent oral care. Only a qualified and trained dentist or dental hygienist can properly remove the plaque, bacteria, and tartar associated with gum disease using special tools and techniques. For the most effective treatment, it is imperative for patients to visit their dental professional for twice annual cleanings and examinations.
Gum disease must be treated. Without treatment, it will continue to progress, and eventually, you might even lose teeth. In fact, gum disease is the top cause of adult tooth loss in this country, probably because it often goes unnoticed. Many times there are no telltale signs of this insidious disease until it’s too late to reverse it. The only way to know for sure if you have healthy gums is with regular checkups at the dentist.
What Are the Causes and Risk Factors for Gum Disease?
Generally, gum disease evolves from an accumulation of plaque on the teeth and within the gums. When plaque is not removed and remains untreated, it hardens into a substance called tartar (also known as calculus) and the bacteria in the plaque may develop into an infection. This tartar is virtually impossible to remove with regular brushing and flossing alone, as it can develop in hard-to-reach areas. For this reason, maintaining routine professional dental cleanings and exams every six months can help deter plaque and tartar before settling in and causing gum disease. Additionally, certain risk factors may increase the chances of developing gum disease:
- Chronic illness
- Heart disease
- Hormonal changes, such as during pregnancy
- Certain medications
- Smoking and using tobacco products
- Poor diet/nutrition or vitamin deficiencies
- Bruxism (grinding or clenching the teeth)
- Hereditary gum disease
- Insufficient/inadequate daily oral hygiene regimens
What Are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?
Although some symptoms may not be noticeable, there are signs to be aware of for prompt gum disease detection and treatment. Call your dentist right away if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Frequent bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Red, swollen, irritated, or sensitive gums
- Chronic bad breath
- Teeth that feel loose
- White spots on the gums
- Gum tissue that is separating from the teeth
- Gum recession
- Changes in the spacing or positioning of the teeth
- Pain when chewing
- Changes in bite alignment
As the leading causes of adult tooth loss in America, it’s important not to let gum disease go unnoticed. Twice-annual visits to the dentist (or more if recommended) for in-depth cleanings and thorough exams are the best defense for eliminating bacteria and taking control of the condition as soon as possible.
What Are the Stages of Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is generally recognized in three main categories. Below are overviews of each stage to provide a better understanding of how they are diagnosed:
The first stage of periodontal disease is called gingivitis, in which the bacteria in plaque causes the gums to become inflamed. In its earliest stage the condition may be accompanied by red, swollen, or bleeding gums. If the plaque and associated harmful bacteria are not properly removed, the condition may advance to the next stage of gum disease.
As gum disease progresses, it moves into the periodontitis stage. At this point, pockets may begin to form around the teeth, causing the gums to start pulling away from the teeth. Aggravated symptoms, such as bone loss, gum recession, pus around the gums, bleeding gums, and weakened teeth, may worsen if the infection goes untreated for too long.
In its most advanced stage, periodontitis can be so severe that the toxins created by the infection may have already caused permanent damage to the fibers and bone around the teeth. This deterioration indicates that further signs of dental and perhaps even overall health problems may occur, including loose teeth or tooth loss, bite irregularities, and substantial pain in the mouth.
What Are the Gum Disease Treatment Options?
In its earliest stages, gum disease can often be reversed with a deep dental cleaning. This non-surgical treatment, also referred to as scaling and root planing, can help prevent the loss of teeth, gum tissue, and bone structure. The scaling process removes plaque and tartar by scraping it from above and below the gumline. Next, root planning smooths the areas to help prevent bacteria from gathering again. Patients may need more than one treatment, depending on how far along the gum disease has progressed.
For more advanced gum disease, individuals might need periodontal surgery, such as pocket reduction or gum grafting.Our team, which includes an in-house periodontist who can meet with patients every other Wednesday, can help determine the best course of action for one’s unique needs.
Contact our office today to schedule an appointment and learn more about gum disease prevention and treatment options.