Periodontal Disease: Causes and Treatment
Periodontal disease is serious, and it’s sneaky, too. One of the leading causes of tooth loss, it can develop and progress without the patient even noticing any symptoms until it requires extensive treatment. This is one of the biggest reasons that dentists recommend regular cleanings and checkups. When you keep your gums and teeth in better condition through oral hygiene, you have far less chance of developing periodontal disease. In addition, regular checkups allow your dentist to identify any abnormalities that may escape your notice because they occur so gradually. However, when periodontal disease does occur, all is not necessarily lost. There are several ways of treating periodontal disease, depending on the severity of the condition.
Types of Periodontal Problems:
Gingivitis is the early warning of periodontal problems. It can be caused by neglecting your hygiene, however, some other conditions that contribute to it are pregnancy or, ironically, a tendency toward brushing your teeth too vigorously.
What to look for:
red, swollen gums
- bleeding when you brush your teeth
How it’s treated:
It can usually be reversed with proper prophylaxis and hygiene.
- Sometimes, in addition to professional cleaning, the dentist will prescribe an antibacterial mouthwash containing chlorhexidine to help reduce the bacterial load in the mouth.
Periodontal disease is something that progresses over time.
If gingivitis is left untreated, and more and more plaque and tartar build up on the teeth’s surfaces.
These substances irritate the gum tissue; this inflammation and the bacterial load in the mouth then lead to infection.
The gums begin to pull away from the teeth, forming what are known as pockets, which are, unfortunately, perfect breeding grounds for even more of the bacteria that are causing the problem.
How it’s treated:
Various treatments have been developed that can help. A scaling and root planing (SRP) procedure may sometimes be able to reverse the disease to a manageable point. If so, patients usually have to have more frequent cleanings than before, but can keep their teeth without undergoing a more extensive treatment. Untreated, the problem continues to progress until the infection has passed from the gum area through the root region and into the bone of the jaw, at which point bone loss is quite probable.
In the past, the only choice for periodontal disease that needed more treatment than an SRP was cut-and-stitch gum surgery. In this sort of surgical procedure, the gum tissue is cut and pulled away from the tooth so the surgeon can clean the root area under the tooth to reduce infection. The gum is then stitched back; however, pocket areas are sometimes cut off so as to reduce bacterial load, which changes the appearance of the teeth and can result in sensitivity to heat and cold as the roots are more exposed than before. While this treatment is important in keeping patients from losing teeth unnecessarily, it is far from a cure all. This type of periodontal surgery may still provide the best form of treatment for some patients. However, depending on severity of the disease, many patients can now take advantage of the much less invasive periodontal laser technology known as LANAP.
What are the Benefits of LANAP?
For patients in Newington, Ct., LANAP, or Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure, is an exciting new option in the treatment of periodontal disease. For many who suffer from periodontal disease, laser treatment is an effective way to manage their condition without surgery. Some of the benefits include:
much less invasive than surgery, so the gums undergo far less trauma
the laser selectively targets unhealthy tissue in a way that is impossible with surgery
bacteria is eliminated by the laser, disinfecting the area to help prevent later problems
laser stimulation can help the gum tissue reattach to the tooth (that’s the “new attachment” part of the name)
- recovery time is dramatically shorter than with conventional surgical periodontal disease treatments
Like any medical or dental procedure, LANAP is not right for everyone Only a consultation with the dentists at Newington Family Dentistry can reveal whether you can benefit from laser gum treatment in Newington, CT. Call (860) 666-7910 to learn more about how Drs. Adamidis and Dibner can help you with LANAP laser periodontal disease treatments.
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