Periodontal disease (gum disease) is common, and can be treated properly by our dental team at LuxDen Dental Center. Periodontal treatments depend on the gum disease type and the severity of it. If gum disease is caught early and no damage has been done to the support structures, you may just need a professional cleaning from one of our hygienists. However, our dental team needs to evaluate your teeth and gums regularly to ensure that your periodontal disease is not advancing. We offer the most advanced laser treatments for all the forms of gum disease in Brooklyn NY. We treat receding gums, advanced periodontal disease and early form of gingivitis.
How Can You Get Periodontal Disease and How Is It Treated?
If you have periodontal disease, it’s important to take this disease very seriously, but equally, you don’t need to panic as it may not be as bad as you imagine. Unfortunately, periodontal disease is incredibly common and will affect approximately half of all adults at some point during their lifetime.
Also, the severity of periodontal disease can vary considerably as sometimes it can be quite mild and easily treated, while other times it may be more of a concern and could require ongoing treatment for life.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
You might know periodontal disease better as gum disease, as it initially affects your gums. Mouth bacteria cause it and these bacteria are naturally present in the oral cavity. At any given time, you probably have several hundred strains of bacteria cohabiting in your mouth. Most will not cause any problems, but some are more destructive and especially if they are given free rein to thrive and multiply.
When these bacteria get out of hand, they gradually begin to infect and inflame your gum tissue. Over time, the infection and inflammation become more severe, and your gum tissue is destroyed.
The destruction doesn’t end there, as severe periodontal disease can also destroy other structures around your teeth such as the bony socket in which your tooth is situated, and what are called periodontal ligaments. These are stretchy pieces of tissue that are attached to your tooth and the socket, helping to keep the tooth in place.
How Do You Get Periodontal Disease?
Most cases of periodontal disease are caused by poor oral hygiene, so if you regularly skip brushing your teeth and fail to floss, your risk of getting periodontal disease is considerably higher. Each day, the bacteria that cause periodontal disease collect in a sticky layer called plaque and which coats your teeth and gums.
When you have good oral hygiene, you brush away most dental plaque, and flossing helps to remove plaque trapped in between your teeth. Brushing also removes old food debris before it can rot and cause bad breath, and before it can provide an essential food source for these harmful bacteria. Other factors can increase your risk of periodontal disease and which might not be so easy to control as poor oral hygiene.
Hormonal changes that take place during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause can increase the risk of periodontal disease because they increase the sensitivity of your gums to the bacteria causing the inflammation and infection. Diseases like cancer, diabetes, and HIV can all affect your immune system, so your body is less able to fight infections like periodontal disease. Some prescription and non-prescription drugs cause a condition called dry mouth, where you don’t have enough saliva to keep your mouth clean and comfortable. Without saliva, your risk of periodontal disease increases.
Periodontal disease may also be partly genetic, for example, if your family members have had gum disease, your risk of getting periodontal disease might be higher.
How Can I Tell If I Have Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is sometimes called a silent disease for a very good reason, as the early signs and symptoms are easily overlooked or ignored.
One of the very first signs is noticing your gums look swollen and red (or purple), or perhaps seeing blood on your toothbrush or in the bathroom sink.
The earlier stage of periodontal disease is called gingivitis, where your gums start to become swollen, irritated, inflamed and in some cases recede.
Ideally, the disease is detected at this stage, and it often is if you see your local dentist or Dr. Umanoff regularly for detailed examination, checkups and cleanings.
The great thing about detecting gingivitis sooner is that it is usually very easy to cure and is the effects are completely reversible. It’s a very different story if you fail to notice these symptoms and don’t visit your dentist regularly.
Without treatment, gingivitis can get considerably worse, and you will develop advanced periodontal disease eventually. At this stage, the signs are far more noticeable as your gums begin to recede because of the destruction, and they start to pull away from your teeth creating deep pockets that harbor harmful bacteria.
These deep pockets, called periodontal pockets are just about impossible to keep clean with an ordinary toothbrush, so the disease gradually worsens. Eventually, your periodontal ligaments and the bone around your teeth is destroyed so teeth become loose and will fall out or require extraction.
What Are Periodontal Pockets?
Periodontal pockets are spaces or gaps that develop around the teeth, where the gums aren’t properly attached to the teeth any longer. As these pockets develop, they create the ideal environment for bacteria to thrive, allowing the infection to spread toward other structures that help keep your teeth firmly anchored in your mouth, for example, periodontal ligaments and the bone around your teeth.
Initially, periodontal pockets may seem invisible, but your gum disease dentist Dr. Umanoff or your local periodontist or general dentist can easily detect them during a dental examination.
What Are the Treatments for Periodontal Disease?
The treatments needed will depend on the severity of your periodontal disease.
If you have gingivitis, your dentist will professionally clean your teeth, removing all plaque and tartar buildup, getting rid of the bacteria that are causing the infection and inflammation. That’s not the end of the treatment however, as you will almost certainly need to improve your oral care routine at home.
Your dentist or hygienist will talk to you about how to brush more thoroughly, including which toothpaste to use and whether you should use an antimicrobial mouthwash to help kill more bacteria. Also, you must floss each day, and if you find it tricky to floss, tell your dentist because they can help you.
These days there are lots of different tools you can try, and which make flossing easier and more effective. You must develop a routine that you can stick to for life. As you start to brush and floss more thoroughly, you’ll quickly notice your gums become healthier and stronger, and within a couple of weeks or so they should stop bleeding entirely.
Advanced Periodontal Disease
Treatment for advanced periodontal disease is an entirely different matter, and you are best seeing a specialist dentist at LuxDen or your local periodontist. Dr. Umanoff has years of advanced training in treating conditions affecting the gums and other structures around the teeth and can provide you with the very best and most up-to-date treatments.
The aim is to eliminate as much of the bacteria as possible, often using laser dentistry as this sterilizes areas of gum that are treated. Be prepared to make good friends with Dr. Umanoff and dental team because you will most likely need to see them regularly for ongoing care. It’s well worth it if it saves your teeth and your smile.
More severe periodontitis is often treated with a procedure called scaling and root planing and which removes plaque and tartar buildup from the tooth root surfaces exposed by deep periodontal pockets. Often, this treatment is used in conjunction with laser therapy.
Using a dental laser helps to eliminate even more bacteria deep in periodontal pockets because the energy produced by the laser sterilizes the pockets effectively. Also, if any tissue is too badly damaged to heal properly, it is more effectively removed with a dental laser. Because a dental laser is extremely precise, only diseased tissue is removed, and the energy of the laser automatically seals any tiny blood vessels, reducing the risk of infection and reducing healing time. Afterward, your gums should begin to fit more snugly around your teeth as they heal.
Usually, treatment for advanced periodontal disease is ongoing so be prepared to get to know your periodontist and their team quite well!
Schedule an Appointment to Discuss Gum Disease Treatment in Brooklyn Today
If you are concerned about gum disease or periodontal disease advancement and seek treatment, call our Brooklyn dental office at (718) 382-3444 to schedule an appointment with our dental specialists today.