Gum disease starts small. It is almost invisible. Your gums become red and swollen as a result of irritation and inflammation caused by a buildup of plaque and bacteria. Your gums may even bleed when you brush or floss. Unfortunately, these symptoms are often ignored. Your swollen gums pull away from your teeth, creating pockets. Bacteria fall into these pockets and start attacking your periodontal ligaments and your jawbone. Eventually, your gums recede, your teeth become weak, and they may even fall out. At Raptou Family Dental, we can help to stop the progression of gum disease, giving your gums a chance to heal, with periodontal care.
At Raptou Family Dental, we recommend that you have professional dental cleanings at least twice a year. During these cleanings, we scrape plaque, tartar (hardened plaque that cannot be brushed away), bacteria and other debris is scraped away from the surfaces of your teeth, between your teeth and along the gumline. We can clean the hard to reach areas that might often go untouched. These cleanings are designed to help prevent gum disease from occurring in the first place.
Scaling and Root Planing
If you do end up with gum disease, treatments are available. Scaling and root planing is a “deep clean” of your teeth. Scaling involves scraping the surfaces of your teeth, between them and below the gumline. Root planing is the process in which we smooth the surfaces of your teeth’s roots. Finally, an antimicrobial agent is administered below the gums to kill any lingering bacteria. This procedure is minimally invasive and is designed to remove the irritation from your gums, allowing them to heal.
Sometimes, your gums are too inflamed for a proper scaling and root planing to be completed. If we cannot properly access your teeth, they cannot be thoroughly cleaned. This means that they will not be able to heal properly, and gum disease can continue to progress. To get the access to your teeth that we need, the infected gum tissue needs to be removed. In the past, this was done with a scalpel, which could cause a significant amount of bleeding during your procedure, along with significant pain and swelling while you heal. At Raptou Family Dental, we use laser dentistry to perform this task. The laser is a high-intensity beam of light that cauterizes as it cuts. It also minimizes tissue trauma, greatly reducing the post-procedure pain and swelling.
When your gums swell, the tissue pulls away from your teeth, creating pockets. Bacteria fall into the pockets. Inside these pockets, bacteria attack your jawbone and periodontal ligaments. They also continue to irritate your gums. The pockets grow deeper. When they are too deep, we will not be able to completely clean them. A pocket reduction surgery gives us the access we need. After a local anesthetic, incisions are made in the gums to expose the roots of your teeth. We thoroughly clean your teeth and then stitch your gums back up against them. With your teeth clean, your gums can start to heal.
Soft Tissue and Bone Grafts
When gum disease is severe, your gums begin to recede, and your jawbone begins to weaken. Receding gums not only make your teeth appear longer than normal, but they can also expose the roots of your teeth, causing painful sensitivity. A soft tissue graft uses tissue from elsewhere in your mouth (usually from the roof) and sutures it in place over the areas of recession. It helps to restore a more natural, healthy gumline.
If you have experienced bone loss, a bone graft can restore the strength to your jaw. This procedure involves the use of bone from elsewhere in your body and places it in the areas of weakness. Bone grafts are frequently used to restore bone mass before dental implants.
If you have been diagnosed with gum disease, treatment is essential. Call Raptou Family Dental today to schedule your consultation.