Periodontal (Gum) Disease
Periodontal disease (also called gum disease or gingivitis) refers to the infection of the supportive tissues of the mouth due to toxic bacteria found in plaque. Most Americans experience some form of periodontal disease, often without realizing it. Periodontal disease is chiefly responsible for adult tooth loss, bleeding gums, bad breath and receding gums as well as the break down of the soft tissue in the mouth and jaw, and other significant health problems. It is easily prevented with proper hygiene, home care and professional treatment. If diagnosed in its early stages, gum disease treatments are easier, less invasive and more effective. Your visit to Dr. Phillips includes a complete examination of your gums and supportive structures, and you will have access to advanced periodontal therapy to heal and restore your oral health.
In the advanced stages of Periodontal disease, a visit to a qualified Periodontist may be recommended to restore gum tissue and to attempt to create new bone through augmentation techniques. If caught early enough by Dr. Phillips, it can be treated through a series of periodontal appointments where root planing and scaling takes place. During these appointments, a special medicine may also be placed in your gums to help rid the tissue of bacteria and infection. To stabilize your gums, you will need to have quarterly visits to the office followed by routine home care including brushing, flossing, and sometimes rinsing with a medicated mouthwash.
WHAT IS ROOT PLANING AND SCALING?
This extensive cleaning treatment is provided by the hygienist for patients who have tartar, calculus and bacteria buried below the gum line on the tooth. Your regular tooth brushing and flossing removes the tartar that is above the gum line of your tooth. Root planing and scaling helps to prevent and in some cases treat gum disease. This technique is most often used when the gum pockets at your tooth have a measurement that is greater than 3mm. The average pocket depth is less than 3mm. When tartar and calculus attach to your tooth below the gum line, they pull the gum tissue away from the tooth creating the deep pocket. The tartar and calculus must be removed so that the gum can heal and close the pocket to less than 3mm. If not treated, the tartar and bacteria will begin to cause gum disease and deteriorate your bone, tissue and teeth.
MAINTAINING YOUR SMILE, TEETH & GUMS – PERIODONTAL SUPPORTIVE THERAPY
If you have been diagnosed with and treated for periodontal (gum) disease, regularly scheduled supportive therapy is vitally important to your success in management of disease progression. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, “following a course of active periodontal treatment and periodic ongoing care at regularly prescribed intervals is essential. Because periodontal disease or infection can recur, continuous maintenance is absolutely necessary to prevent this periodontal infection from becoming active once again and destroying what healing has occurred.
The following treatment is included in your periodontal maintenance appointment:
- Evaluation of oral health to detect subtle signs of disease recurrence
- Appropriate debridement of teeth and gums (professional cleaning and polishing)
- Antimicrobial therapy to destroy difficult to reach bacteria as deemed necessary by the doctor
- Evaluation of homecare regimes and aids
- Oral health evaluation including oral cancer screening, necessary dental films, and decay detection
- Recommendations based on individual needs as a result of medical and dental histories review
Scientific studies support the belief of experts that the most important aspect of periodontal treatment is the long term maintenance therapy. Individuals vary in their response to periodontal disease and resistance to the disease varies at different times of life. When periodontal disease recurs following treatment, it may do so without signs or symptoms to the patient. Dr. Phillips and his team are well trained in recognizing the very subtle signs that may signal detrimental changes. Ask Dr. Phillips or your hygienist what interval of care would be in your best interest for lifelong oral health.