Are you part of the 50% of American adults who have gum disease? If you have noticed blood in your saliva when you brush and floss your teeth, your gums seem like they are shrinking away from your teeth, your breath is not as fresh as you would like it to be, and your gums look angry, red, and swollen, then there is a very high likelihood that you also have gum disease. Fortunately for our patients who have more advanced stages of gum disease, we here at College Hill Dental are proud to let you know that we can help you manage and treat this chronic and potentially dangerous disease.
What is Periodontal Treatment and How Does it Help?
Just like periodontal disease is not very well understood, most of our patients are not very familiar with the options available to them to help them manage their disease. When we encounter a patient with a more advanced stage of gum disease (also known as periodontitis), we like to approach it in a multitude of ways to help ensure we thoroughly combat this infection.
There are five main ways we typically like to combat periodontal disease. Two of these methods are non-surgical, but the other three do involve surgery. For our patients who may want to avoid surgical intervention, we may start with the non-surgical options first. If these methods are effective, then we may not need to perform surgery. However, if more intensive measures are required, we may need to advise surgery to help you get the best results from your treatment.
The most common non-surgical treatment method for our patients is a procedure known as scaling and root planing. Scaling and root planing involve thoroughly removing all calculus (built up and hardened plaque, also known as tartar) from the surface of your teeth and in your gum pockets. We will start by scraping away all of the buildups from your teeth and up under your gumline using our scaler.
Depending on your teeth, we may use a manual scaler, an ultrasonic one, or both. After we remove the calculus from your teeth, we will then plane your teeth. This involves polishing your tooth root, removing all rough parts. This makes it harder for buildup to return and helps your gums reattach to your tooth roots, stopping the recession of your gums in its tracks.
The other non-surgical option we offer is called periodontal maintenance. Unlike routine checkups and cleanings, periodontal maintenance involves you coming back to our office more frequently for cleanings. Instead of the typically advised six-month interval, you will come back every three to four months for a cleaning and treatment.
The surgical options include gum grafts, bone grafts, and pocket reduction surgery. During a gum graft, we will take donor tissue (usually from your soft palate) and affix it to the areas of the gums that need it. A bone graft also includes donor tissue, either by yourself or sterilized bone from an animal or cadaver. This helps restore bone that was lost from advanced gum disease. Lastly, we may do pocket reduction surgery. This is like a more invasive root planing, but we do need to cut into your gums to expose the affected area to remove the buildup and smooth the surface of your tooth roots.
If you have questions about periodontal treatment options, or you are ready to schedule your next dental appointment with us here at College Hill Dental, please give us a call today at (541) 393-2575 for more information or to set up your appointment!