Gum Disease Treatment in St. Paul MN
Gum disease is a common term for periodontal disease; it refers to any disease or infection of the gums and bone supporting your teeth. In its earliest stages, gum disease is treatable by your dentist with great success. However, periodontal disease can lead to severe health problems without proper intervention from your Dental Professional in combination with at-home care of your teeth and gums.
Types of Gum Disease
The earliest stage of periodontal disease is gingivitis, which affects the gums but has not advanced to the bone or the surrounding support system for the teeth. Gingivitis is a bacterial infection of the gums. It causes red, swollen gums that are sensitive to touch. The gums may bleed, particularly when eating or brushing your teeth. Gingivitis can be effectively treated by any of our Dental Hygienists. Gingivitis is reversable back to health if proper intervention is had.
Periodontitis is more severe and involves the bacteria advancing from the gum tissue to the bone supporting your teeth. The infection causes your gums to pull away from your teeth, allowing bacteria to reach the bone that is holding your teeth in place. If left untreated, you may experience premature loss of teeth. Periodontal disease has a link with other serious health risks, such as heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. Periodontitis has 4 levels of involvement: (1) early, (2) moderate, (3) severe (4) advanced. The earlier periodontal disease is treated the more successful the outcome and less risk of it progressing.
Warning Signs of Gum Disease
Gum disease is a silent condition that can advance rapidly if not treated. Be aware of the signs of gum disease and contact our office if you suspect you may have gingivitis or periodontitis. The earlier treatment begins, the better. Warning signs of gum disease include:
- Red, swollen, or sensitive gums
- Chronic bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
- Pain when chewing
- Bleeding gums
- Loose teeth
- Gums pulling away from the teeth or receding
- Sensitive teeth
- Change in the way a dental bridge fits
If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease, contact our office at 651-222-0351 or use our online scheduling form to set an appointment. The longer you wait, the greater the likelihood of irreversible damage to your teeth and gums.
Taking proper care of your teeth and gums is crucial to preventing gum disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 47% of adults over 30 have some type of gum disease. It is more common in men and smokers. Among the risk factors are:
- Hereditary predisposition to gum disease
- Poor oral hygiene
- Crooked or crowded teeth
- Chronic stress
- Dry mouth (sometimes caused by medications)
- Poorly fitting bridges or loose fillings
- Immune disorders
- Hormonal changes due to pregnancy, contraceptives, or HRT
- Steroid use
- Cancer therapy medications
If you have any of these risk factors, proper periodontal maintenance is crucial to maintaining good oral health and preventing gum disease.
Treating Gum Disease
The doctors at Associated Dentists evaluate the stage and severity of your gum disease to develop an effective treatment plan. The treatment plan hinges on the severity of the infection and the amount of damage to your gums, teeth, and bone. A thorough exam and digital imaging help our doctors map out a detailed plan to reverse the progression of periodontal disease. Your doctor and dental hygienist will evaluate not only the gums but the bone and surrounding tissues and structures during your exam to ensure nothing is missed during your treatment.
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing are non-surgical, deep cleaning procedures to treat gum disease. They remove dental plaque and tartar below the gum line using dental tools designed to scrape away bacteria and bacterial by products to promote reattachment of tissue to the root of your tooth.
Pocket Reduction Surgery
If a bacterial infection has settled into the deep pockets of tissue and gums surrounding your teeth, pocket reduction surgery may be required. A local anesthetic is applied to the area, and the gum tissues are folded back to reveal underlying tissue. The teeth and bones are smoothed and treated to remove bacteria. The gums are then pulled back into position and sutured in place.
If the damage is severe or the bones have deteriorated, bone regeneration may be needed. Pocket reduction surgery is the first step to removing bacteria and treating the infection. When this is complete, bone grafts are placed in the damaged area of the jawbone. A membrane over the site holds the grafting material in place while it heals. Our doctors may also use platelet-rich growth factors or proteins to stimulate healing.
If you lose gum tissue due to periodontal disease, some of the damaged gum tissue can be replaced with grafts to fully cover the roots of the teeth and restore your smile. The graft tissue is removed from the roof of the mouth and put in place where new gum tissue is needed. A protective membrane is placed over the graft until the tissue regenerates.
Any treatment for gum disease may also include oral antibiotics to alleviate the infection and prevent it from returning. Our doctors will review your medical history and discuss your options to prescribe the appropriate antibiotics for you.
If you are treated for gum disease, follow-up care and maintenance are critical to prevent a recurring infection that can be difficult or impossible to treat. Like routine dental cleanings, periodontal maintenance removes tartar buildup, but is a more intensive cleaning routine, including root scaling and root planing, for patients who have been treated for gum disease. Periodontal maintenance is needed to keep infection at bay and prevent gum disease from returning.
Periodontal maintenance includes root scaling and root planing to remove tartar between the teeth and gums. If there is any infection or inflammation, the area is irrigated with antiseptic medication. For our patients who have been treated for gum disease, we recommend in-office periodontal maintenance every three or four months to maintain healthy gums. Gum disease is difficult to eradicate and may return without proper periodontal maintenance. It is almost impossible for patients with gum disease to effectively control the bacterial growth and tartar build-up of gum disease on their own.
Preventing Gum Disease
While our doctors are skilled at treating periodontal disease, the best treatment is prevention. Taking care of your teeth and gums properly is the best defense, including flossing daily and brushing at least twice daily.
If you believe you may have gum disease or have had it in the past, periodontal maintenance should be a part of your overall health care routine. Contact our office today at 651-222-0351 to schedule a checkup or periodontal maintenance appointment.
Contact us with any questions or to schedule an appointment.
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