Periodontal Disease Diagnosis and Treatment
At LehmannWaggener Dental of Santa Rosa, we know that keeping your teeth healthy is only possible if your gums are healthy too. This is why we treat periodontal disease—disease that affects the gum and bone supporting the teeth—without having to resort to surgical intervention whenever possible.
Risk Factors of Gum Disease
There are several potential risks to watch out for when preventing gum disease. Certain factors should be monitored based on your individual health and age, as older patients and patients with diabetes are found to be more susceptible. Additionally, tobacco usage as well as medications that cause dry mouth may also increase your chances of gum disease.
Some risk factors cannot be controlled or as easily monitored however, as hormonal changes and genetic predisposition have also been acknowledged as potential risk factors for gum disease. The best way to keep these factors in check is to control your exposure whenever possible, as well as brushing and flossing daily, with bi-yearly visits for dental cleanings.
Advanced gum disease, when initial symptoms are left unchecked and untreated, can lead to the loss in bone fibers around the teeth, opening you up to the loss or shifting of teeth. In certain cases, this can also lead to teeth having to be extracted as well.
Early signs and symptoms to look out for to prevent gum disease include:
- Red, inflamed gums
- Tender and/or bleeding gums
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums
If these symptoms are noticed and treated quickly, then patients can often prevent early forms of gingivitis from developing into advanced levels of gum disease.
Stages of Gum Disease
Gum disease is itself split into three separate categories, based on severity.
Gingivitis: This is the earliest and most treatable stage of gum disease. In this stage, you will experience inflamed and reddened gums that can experience sensitivity when brushing or flossing. Many will also experience bleeding from the gums as well. This is the only reversible stage of gum disease, as there has yet to be damage to the bone or connective tissue.
Periodontitis: Bone and connective fibers have been irreversibly damaged by this stage, and often times you will develop pockets of infection in the gums that can trap food and lead to further damage. With proper periodontal treatment and maintenance cleanings, further damage can be prevented.
Advanced Periodontitis: This stage requires immediate attention. The supporting gum and bone fibers have been damaged and can negatively affect your bite and shift your teeth. Some teeth may require extraction.
If the damage to the gums and teeth is not too severe, our hygienists will perform what is known as a deep cleaning, or scaling and root planing. This process involves the scraping away of plaque and tartar from the face of the tooth and directly under the gum line. During the scaling process, we will use ultrasonic and handheld scaling tools to remove the plaque and tartar from your teeth, and will smooth the tooth’s surface to prevent further buildup.
Laser Periodontal Therapy
One treatment our practice offers is laser periodontal therapy. This procedure involves the use of dental lasers to excise any infected gum tissue from the base of the tooth. Removing this tissue allows us to treat the pockets that form during the initial stages of periodontitis. This procedure not only cleans the teeth, but allows for gums to heal properly and without the previously formed pockets.
Visit our Santa Rosa Office
If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease, then schedule an appointment with one of our three hygienists at LehmannWaggener Dentistry. We are eager to treat patients in and around Santa Rosa to achieve optimal gingival health. Contact us today!