Periodontal Care and Gum Recession Treatment
Unhealthy gums can threaten not only your dental health and the beauty of your smile, but your overall physical health as well. Plaque buildup along and below the gumline can harbor dangerous bacteria, which can negatively affect the health of the gums and lead to disease. Left untreated, serious infections can develop and gum and bone recession can occur, compromising your teeth and health. At South River Dentistry, Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Jeff Blackburn is dedicated to providing top quality periodontal care to help his patients achieve and maintain healthy gums. Read on to learn more about gum disease and the many periodontal treatments we offer.
Periodontal (gum) disease is a disease of the supporting bone and gingiva that surround the tooth. It is the number one cause of tooth loss and is present in many adults. It is usually painless until it reaches advanced stages, at which point it may be too late to save the teeth. Periodontal disease is diagnosed by evaluating x-rays and measuring the saccular depth around each tooth during oral exams. During the exam, tooth mobility is evaluated as well as health of the gums. The presence of infection and bleeding gums are indicators of this disease.
The causes of periodontal disease can be due to a number of factors, including:
- Genetic predisposition for periodontal disease
- Poor home care (thorough daily brushing and flossing)
- Lack of professional cleanings and monitoring
- Lifestyle habits such as tobacco use
The typical signs and symptoms of periodontal disease are:
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Gum recession
- Tooth mobility
- Red or purplish gum color
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Pus and discharge coming from the gums
Our dental professionals can address periodontal disease with proper dental procedures in addition to home care and follow-up dental care. Treatment for periodontal disease starts with the removal of all tartar (calculus) from the teeth and is sometimes followed by the application of antibiotic medication within the gums to fight lingering bacteria. Once treatment is complete, you will be instructed on proper daily gum care and placed on a more frequent cleaning schedule to prevent plaque buildup and recurrence of infection.
Periodontal Concerns, Procedures, and Care
Periodontal concerns can extend beyond gum disease to include gum recession and bruxism (teeth grinding). The following is a list of periodontal concerns, procedures, and care options we offer to improve gum health:
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing are typically the first phase of treatment for periodontal disease. The procedure consists of administering local anesthesia and removing tartar from around the teeth and under the gums. Most of the time, this treatment, along with proper maintenance and follow-up care, is adequate in preventing gum disease from getting worse.
Gingival recession is a condition where the gum tissue has retreated from around the teeth. If recession continues and remains untreated there becomes an elevated chance of decay and tooth loss. Gum recession can also affect the appearance of your smile. The causes of gum recession can be genetic predisposition, periodontal disease, bruxism, orthodontic movement, heavy toothbrushing, and even tongue studs and lip piercings.
Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)
Bruxism refers to clenching and grinding of the teeth. Often, teeth clenching and grinding occurs at night while you sleep, and is referred to as nocturnal bruxism. Bruxism can be a very damaging condition, affecting the teeth, gums, facial muscles, and temporomandibular joint. Most frequently, patients with this issue have a genetic predisposition for bruxism, but stress often contributes to the frequency and intensity of teeth grinding. Headaches, facial soreness, jaw pain, and gum recession commonly accompany bruxism.
The treatment for bruxism usually involves the fabrication of a protective splint (night guard) to be worn while sleeping. If facial pain and headaches still persist with the night guard, then a more advanced method of treatment may be required.
Soft Tissue Grafting & The Chao Pinhole® Surgical Technique
Soft tissue grafting is a procedure that is done to strengthen and rebuild areas of gingival recession. Many techniques can be used to restore recessed gingival tissue, including the minimally invasive Chao Pinhole® Surgical Technique (PST).
Contact South River Dentistry
If you would like to know more about the periodontal treatments we offer, or if you would like to schedule an appointment, please contact our practice today.