According to the CDC, 47.2% of adults 30 years of age and older have some form of gum disease. Also known as periodontal disease, this condition is preventable, but once it develops it won’t go away on its own without treatment.
Causes of Gum Disease
Whether you eat or not during the day, a layer of plaque forms on your teeth from the normal bacteria inside your mouth. Brushing removes the stuck-on plaque from your teeth. Regular flossing removes debris from the areas that brushing can’t reach. If you don’t brush often enough, if you do a poor job cleaning, or if you go a long time without having a professional dental cleaning, then the plaque on your teeth turns into hard calculus or tartar. Tartar is impossible to remove with a toothbrush. In turn, it harbors bacteria that contribute to periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease occurs when the bacteria found in plaque and calculus buildup causes an infection in your gum tissue. There are different stages of gum disease which range from mildly inflamed gums known as gingivitis, to more advanced stages where bone loss takes place and teeth become loose because of the lack of foundation surrounding their roots.
Treatment Options for Gum Disease
There are a few different solutions that can help get your periodontal disease under control. Our Meza, Arizona dentist will need to evaluate your condition to determine your proper course of treatment. You may need one or more of the following therapies:
- Debridement: A debridement is usually performed when you have gingivitis and thick, dense calculus buildup on your teeth. This procedure is different than a typical tooth cleaning. It’s more so that a dentist can assess your teeth to perform a thorough examination. Sometimes numbing will be required to perform this procedure, especially if your gums are quite infected. The instruments used to remove the calculus may be hand scalers or a combination of an ultrasonic scaler that vibrates to break apart the calculus which is stuck on your teeth.
- Scaling and Root Planing: Depending on how severe your gum disease is, a series of “deep cleanings” will be required. We will need to clean below the gum line to remove calculus that has been packed under the tissue in a procedure known as scaling and root planing.
Scaling and root planning requires anesthesia and a couple of separate appointments to complete. Our Mesa, Arizona dentist may recommend that we perform this procedure on half of your mouth, wait a bit, then proceed to clean the other half of your mouth at a separate appointment (especially if local anesthetic is used.)
- Gum Surgery: Scaling and root planing treatment uses instruments that can only reach so far below the gum tissue. If this procedure isn’t effective enough at removing all of the buildup below your gums because of severe pocketing or bone loss, then you may need to see a gum specialist, known as a periodontist, for periodontal surgery.
If the specialist determines that your teeth can be saved, then you’ll typically need to undergo surgery where they will retract your gum tissue, exposing the deep calculus buildup, and remove it. Some contouring of the bone may be necessary as well. Once completed, your gums will be sutured back in place, and a healing period of several weeks will occur afterward.
- Extractions: If you’ve experienced so much bone loss that your teeth are loose or falling out, then none of the above treatments may be able to help. Bone doesn’t grow back, so any severely loose teeth will need to be removed. Implants may not even be a replacement option in this case since they rely highly on proper bone support to stay in place. If you have to lose all of your teeth due to gum disease, you may need grafting for implants or want to consider dentures instead.
Gum Disease Treatment In Mesa, Arizona
The most important thing to know about gum disease is that it’s completely preventable and once you acquire it, it won’t go away without being treated. And leaving it untreated will just allow it to progress further. Eventually you may lose all your teeth and your replacement options can be quite limited.
Dr. Vinh Huynh and the professional team of Eastport Dental in Mesa, AZ is here to help you evaluate the condition of your gums and construct a custom treatment plan for your smile. If it’s been a while since you’ve had a dental cleaning and checkup then please call us right away. We look forward to meeting you and helping you maintain a healthy smile for years to come.