Periodontal disease is an infection that develops gradually within the gums. When plaque builds up on the teeth, it can harden to form a substance called tartar, which harbors bacteria. If left untreated, this bacteria can destroy the gums, teeth, and underlying bone structure, leading to discomfort and potential tooth loss. The destruction caused by the disease is usually painless or asymptomatic, even in advanced stages. Just because it doesn’t hurt doesn’t mean it’s not serious. Fortunately, modern advancements in dental technology have made it possible to undergo a range of periodontal treatments without necessitating major surgery, ensuring a painless and stress-free experience. At Gentle Care Dentistry, we provide a variety of periodontal services to counteract the effects of gum disease and promote optimal oral health.
What Periodontal Services Can Do
- Treat, prevent, and manage periodontal disease long-term
- Reduce gum inflammation
- Diagnose oral cancer early
- Improve tooth and bite alignment
- Clean and polish the teeth
Reasons for Periodontal Services
While tooth loss is a reliable indicator of gum disease, patients can benefit from periodontal services when they exhibit milder symptoms as well. Gingivitis, a condition characterized by seemingly harmless symptoms like bad breath and bleeding gums, is the first stage of gum disease. However, if gingivitis goes untreated and becomes periodontitis, patients can experience tooth loss due to bone and gum deterioration. The only way to prevent the recurrence of gum disease is by having regular periodontal maintenance check-ups.
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling is the removal of harmful tartar from the surface of the teeth, and root planing involves removing decayed portions of the root. This procedure helps treat gingivitis and can be performed without using anesthesia; however, local anesthesia may be necessary for patients with advanced cases of gingivitis to ensure total comfort throughout the process. After the scaling and root planing procedure, ARESTIN®, an antibiotic powder, is placed into the treated areas of the teeth to help eliminate the infection.
Regular dental prophylaxis cleanings are ineffective against periodontal disease. Some patients require periodontal maintenance, which is a more-involved dental cleaning done every three months rather than every six months. Unlike regular dental cleanings that only address issues above the gumline, this procedure also removes plaque, calculus, and bacteria buildup in diseased pockets below the gumline.
A biopsy may be performed to diagnose oral cancer in patients who suffer from an unidentified lesion in the mouth. During a biopsy, your dentist will take a sample of gum tissue for further examination. Cells may be collected using either an incisional or exfoliative method, depending on the depth and severity of the condition. Not all oral lesions are cancerous, but they must be analyzed by a qualified dental healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate treatment.
When you close your mouth, your top teeth should fit slightly over your bottom teeth, and your top and bottom teeth should touch at the same time and with equal pressure. If some teeth do not touch or if they touch harder than others, your bite might not be properly aligned. Patients who struggle with a misaligned or uneven bite may need occlusal adjustment to even out irregular pressure distribution on one side of the mouth. Correcting an uneven bite may also alleviate tooth sensitivity.
An occlusal adjustment corrects the alignment of your bite to ensure even distribution of pressure on all your teeth and minimal tooth wear. A computer scan will record hundreds of bite registrations per minute to determine even the slightest irregularity. Your dentist will use a small drill or fine file to reshape the biting surfaces of your teeth to ensure your teeth are properly aligned. Your dentist may also take impressions of your mouth to create a night guard to help keep your teeth in proper alignment. An occlusal adjustment causes little to no pain and improves your bite and overall dental health.