Strong teeth are essential to oral health. But did you know that healthy gums are just as important? Gum disease can have a severe negative impact on your oral and overall health. At Maidu Dental, our dentists can treat and prevent periodontal disease using non-surgical treatments, such as scaling and root planing and laser therapy. Read on to find out how these procedures can eliminate gum disease and promote healthier teeth and gums.
About Gum Disease
Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease, and is characterized by puffy, red, or swollen gums. Many patients with gingivitis also notice bleeding when they brush and floss. This gum inflammation is caused by plaque deposits that accumulate on the teeth. If plaque is not routinely removed through proper oral hygiene, it can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis. This condition can usually be reversed with regular dental cleanings and proper brushing and flossing.
If gingivitis remains untreated, the condition can worsen. The bacteria in the plaque can travel deeper into the gums, affecting the bone the supports the teeth. Slowly eroding the jawbone, the bacteria form pockets around the teeth roots, which can harbor further debris, plaque, and bacteria. At this stage, the condition is known as periodontitis. From this point forward, it can continue damaging the bone if left untreated, ultimately leading to mobility and tooth loss.
Diagnosing Gum Disease
During every routine dental visit, our doctors or hygienists will assess your periodontal health. To do this, they will measure the pockets around your teeth. If the pockets measure one to three millimeters, it denotes optimal health. If gingivitis is present, the pockets will measure around four millimeters, due to the slight gum inflammation. Periodontitis is indicated by pockets that are five millimeters or higher. Typically, the higher the number, the more advanced the gum disease.
Non-Surgical Treatments for Gum Disease
Once gum disease reaches the stage of periodontitis, it requires professional intervention. However, if diagnosed in the early stages, periodontitis can be treated through non-surgical, minimally invasive means. At Maidu Dental, we offer two different non-surgical treatments for gum disease:
- Scaling and Root Planing: Sometimes called a deep cleaning, this procedure removes debris, bacteria, and plaque deposits from the teeth and smooths the root surfaces to discourage further irritants from reattaching. Local anesthesia will be administered to keep you comfortable during the procedure. Depending on your unique situation, this treatment can be completed in a single visit or multiple appointments.
- Periodontal Laser Therapy: In some cases, our soft tissue diode laser can be used to treat periodontitis. This advanced dental technology can target infected tissue while leaving the healthy tissue intact. Laser therapy is especially useful for sterilizing periodontal pockets and eliminating bacteria. The diode laser does not require scalpels or stitches. There is also less bleeding because it cauterizes as it incises.
Maintaining Your Periodontal Health
Once you have undergone periodontal therapy, it is important to maintain healthy gums for long-term success. In order to do this, Dr. Luminita Markham will place you on a periodontal maintenance schedule. This simply means she will determine regular cleanings set at appropriate intervals. The levels of oral bacteria repopulate every few months. Many dental patients receive cleanings every six months to combat this. However, if you are more prone to gum disease, we may recommend more frequent visits.
Learn More about Periodontal Therapy
If you notice symptoms of periodontal disease, such as swollen gums, bad breath, or gum recession, schedule a consultation with Dr. Markham to determine the best course of action for you. To reach a team member, call our Auburn, CA office at (530) 823-8771 or contact us online.