Gum Disease Treatment
Gum disease, known alternatively as periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums usually caused by bacteria. The gums become swollen and may even bleed. If left untreated, the disease can spread throughout the mouth and jaw and may cause serious complications. City Smiles DC’s team of expert dentists can help restore your dental health and prevent further damage to your gums.
Diagnosing Gum Disease
There are several signs of gum disease that your dentist is trained to detect. Plaque or tartar buildup on the teeth is typically visible in cases of gum disease. “Pocket depth” refers to the space between the teeth and the gums. A pocket depth larger than 3 millimeters is a red flag for gum disease. In more severe cases such as pocket depths 5 millimeters or more, your dentist may order a dental x-ray to check for bone loss. He or she may also review your medical history and ask lifestyle questions such as whether you smoke, etc.
Once gum disease has been confirmed, the next phase is identifying the appropriate course of treatment.
Treatment of Gum Disease
Successful treatment of gum disease varies from individual to individual, depending on the extent of gum disease and other circumstances.
The most common and simplest treatment for the gums is scaling and root planing. Scaling is a cleaning process where the dentist scrapes the tartar and plaque from the teeth using special dental equipment. Root planing, similarly non-invasive, is the cleaning of the roots. The roots are “smoothed” so that bacteria and other unwanted foreign bodies are less likely to accumulate.
If the dentist notices pocket depths that cannot be easily cleaned using the techniques above, more involved treatments may be necessary. One such treatment is “flap surgery,” where the roots and gums are restored closer to their original positions, making cleaning more effective and keeping harmful bacteria out of the gums.
Another option for receding gums is called a “soft tissue graft.” In this procedure, the dentist attaches new gum tissue to the old, usually with tissue taken from the roof of the mouth. Similarly, a bone graft is performed by borrowing bone from another site of the body and attaching it to the jaw to replace any bone that has been lost during the course of the gum disease process.
More innovative procedures to heal gums are constantly advanced. Our team stays on top of the current technology to deliver the most effective, cutting-edge treatment available.
Prevention of Gum Disease
After successful treatment of gum disease, your dentist will advise you the best ways to maintain your healthy gums and avoid further treatment. These strategies may include: flossing daily, using specialized toothbrushes, scheduling professional cleanings and exams every six months, and refraining from smoking or chewing tobacco. Other changes in lifestyle such as diet may be recommended as well.
To get the best diagnostic and treatment services for potential gum disease, contact City Smiles DC today. Our friendly staff is ready to schedule your appointment with one of our expert dentists. The office can be reached at (202) 539-9499.