Periodontal or Gum disease is an infection around the teeth including gum, the cementum that covers it, the periodontal ligament, the root and the alveolar bone. The bacteria which are inside our mouth, along with mucus and other particles, create a slimy, pale ‘plaque’ on teeth. By daily brushing and flossing, you can clear out plaque but the plaque that is not removed hardens and forms ‘tartar’ that brushing cannot clean.
Periodontal disease normally begins as an inflammation of the gums is called ‘gingivitis’ that happens because of the bacteria. Swollen, red, and bleeding gums are indications of gingivitis, though it is a mild form of decease, and can be prevented easily by maintaining regular dental hygiene.
If gingivitis is not treated, then things can get worse and cause ‘periodontitis’. Periodontitis refers to inflammation around the tooth, in which the swollen gum gets detached from the teeth, forming spaces called ‘pockets’ between tooth and gum. Bacteria grow very fast in the pockets, causing infection.
The following are some of the indications of gum disease:
- Bad breath that won’t go away
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums or longer appearing teeth
The goal of gum disease treatment is to control the infection and prevent damage to the teeth.
- Scaling and Root Planing
Through scaling, we scrape off tartar from above and below gum line. Root planing helps to smoothen the rough spots in the tooth root where germs gather. In some cases, laser technique is used to clear plaque and tartar.
- Crown lengthening
This is a surgical procedure used to treat gum disease where the bone, gum tissue, or both are removed to expose more of a tooth. Generally, a tooth cleaning is performed prior to the procedure. A cut is made in the gum to let them pull away from the tooth and expose the roots and surrounding bone. The area is then flushed and the gums are stitched back together. A bandage may be placed over the stitches to allow healing. An antibiotic rinse and medication will be prescribed to aid treatment and prevent spread of infection.
If you are experiencing any signs of gum disease, please call our practice for a consultation with Dr. Ledford.