Healthy gums are an integral part of a smile. You can have sparkling white and perfectly aligned teeth, but if gum disease is present, the stability and strength of your smile are at risk. At Adler Dental, we protect your teeth with quality gum disease treatment in Manhattan. Patients who exhibit signs of gingivitis or mild to moderate periodontitis receive comprehensive care from our doctors and team.
To schedule your next dental exam or if you have questions about gum disease treatment, contact our office today.
About Periodontal "Gum" Disease
Periodontal disease is most often preceded by gingivitis which is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue. A bacterial infection affects the gums when the toxins contained in plaque begin to irritate and inflame the gum tissues. Once this bacterial infection colonizes in the gum pockets between the teeth, it becomes much more difficult to remove and treat. Periodontal disease is a progressive condition that eventually leads to the destruction of the connective tissue and jawbone. If left untreated, it can cause shifting teeth, loose teeth, and eventually tooth loss.
Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults in the developed world and should always be promptly treated.
Common Causes of Gum Disease
There are genetic and environmental factors involved in the onset of gum disease, and in many cases, the risk of developing periodontitis can be significantly lowered by taking preventative measures.
Here are some of the most common causes of gum disease:
- Poor dental hygiene - Preventing dental disease starts at home with good oral hygiene and a balanced diet. Prevention also includes regular dental visits which include exams, cleanings, and x-rays. A combination of excellent home care and professional dental care will preserve the natural dentition and support of bony structures. When bacteria and calculus (tartar) are not removed, the gums and bone around the teeth become affected by bacterial toxins and can cause gingivitis or periodontitis, which ultimately lead to tooth loss.
- Tobacco use - Research has indicated that smoking and tobacco use are some of the most significant factors in the development and progression of gum disease. In addition to smokers experiencing a slower recovery and healing rate, smokers are far more likely to suffer from calculus (tartar) build-up on teeth, deep pockets in the gingival tissue, and significant bone loss.
- Genetic predisposition - Despite practicing rigorous oral hygiene routines, as much as 30% of the population may have a strong genetic predisposition to gum disease. These individuals are six times more likely to develop periodontal disease than individuals with no genetic predisposition. Genetic tests can be used to determine susceptibility and early intervention can be performed to keep the oral cavity healthy.
- Pregnancy and menopause - During pregnancy, regular brushing and flossing is critical. Hormonal changes experienced by the body can cause the gum tissue to become more sensitive, rendering them more susceptible to gum disease.
- Chronic stress and poor diet - Stress lowers the ability of the immune system to fight off disease which means bacterial infection can beat the body's defense system. Poor diet or malnutrition can also lower the body's ability to fight periodontal infections, as well as negatively affecting the health of the gums.
- Diabetes and underlying medical issues - Many medical conditions can intensify or accelerate the onset and progression of gum disease including respiratory disease, heart disease, arthritis and osteoporosis. Diabetes hinders the body's ability to utilize insulin which makes the bacterial infection in the gums more difficult to control and cure.
- Grinding teeth - The clenching or grinding of teeth can significantly damage the supporting tissue surrounding the teeth. Grinding one's teeth is usually associated with a "bad bite" or the misalignment of the teeth. When an individual is suffering from gum disease, the additional destruction of gingival tissue due to grinding can accelerate the progression of the disease.
- Medication - Many drugs including oral contraceptive pills, heart medicines, anti-depressants, and steroids affect the overall condition of teeth and gums, making them more susceptible to gum disease. Steroid use promotes gingival overgrowth, which makes swelling more commonplace and allows bacteria to colonize more readily in the gum tissue.
Common Signs & Symptoms
It is extremely important to note that periodontal disease can progress without any signs or symptoms such as pain. This is why regular dental checkups are exceptionally important. Described below are some of the most common signs and symptoms of periodontitis.
If you have any of these signs or symptoms, the advice of a general dentist or periodontist should be sought as soon as possible:
Unexplained bleeding - Bleeding when brushing, flossing or eating food is one of the most common symptoms of a periodontal infection. The toxins in plaque cause a bacterial infection which makes the tissues prone to bleeding.
Pain, redness or swelling - A periodontal infection may be present if the gums are swollen, red or painful for no apparent reason. It is essential to halt the progression of the infection before the gum tissue and jaw bone have been affected. It is also critical to treat the infection before it is carried into the bloodstream to other areas of the body.
Longer-looking teeth - Periodontal disease can lead to gum recession. The toxins produced by bacteria can destroy the supporting tissue and bones, thus making the teeth look longer and the smile appear more "toothy."
Bad breath/halitosis - Although breath odor can originate from the back of the tongue, the lungs and stomach, the food we consume, or from tobacco use, bad breath can also be caused by old food particles that sit between the teeth and underneath the gumline. The deeper gum pockets are able to house more debris and bacteria, causing a foul odor.
Loose teeth/change in bite pattern - A sign of rapidly progressing periodontitis is the loosening or shifting of the teeth in the affected area. As the bone tissue gets destroyed, teeth that were once firmly attached to the jawbone become loose or may shift in position.
Pus - Pus oozing from between the teeth is a definitive sign that a periodontal infection is in progress. The pus is a result of the body trying to fight the bacterial infection.
Diagnosing Gum Disease
A periodontal probe (small dental instrument) is gently used to measure the sulcus (pocket or space) between the tooth and the gums. The depth of a healthy sulcus measures three millimeters or less and does not bleed. The periodontal probe helps indicate if pockets are deeper than three millimeters. As periodontal disease progresses, the pockets usually get deeper.
Your dentist or hygienist will use pocket depths, amount of bleeding, inflammation, tooth mobility, etc., to make a diagnosis that will fall into a category below:
Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease. Plaque and its toxin by-products irritate the gums, making them tender, inflamed, and likely to bleed.
Plaque hardens into calculus (tartar). As calculus and plaque continue to build up, the gums begin to recede from the teeth. Deeper pockets form between the gums and teeth and become filled with bacteria and pus. The gums become very irritated, inflamed, and bleed easily. Slight to moderate bone loss may be present.
The teeth lose more support as the gums, bone, and periodontal ligament continue to be destroyed. Unless treated, the affected teeth will become very loose and may be lost. Generalized moderate to severe bone loss may be present.
Treatment for Periodontal Disease
There are many surgical and nonsurgical treatments the periodontist may choose to perform, depending upon the exact condition of the teeth, gums and jawbone. A complete periodontal exam of the mouth will be done before any treatment is performed or recommended.
Here are some of the more common treatments for periodontal disease:
Scaling and root planing - In order to preserve the health of the gum tissue, the bacteria and calculus (tartar) which initially caused the infection, must be removed. The gum pockets will be cleaned and treated with antibiotics as necessary to help alleviate the infection. A prescription mouthwash may be incorporated into daily cleaning routines.
Tissue regeneration - When the bone and gum tissues have been destroyed, regrowth can be actively encouraged using grafting procedures. A membrane may be inserted into the affected areas to assist in the regeneration process.
Pocket elimination surgery - Pocket elimination surgery (also known as flap surgery) is a surgical treatment which can be performed to reduce the pocket size between the teeth and gums. Surgery on the jawbone is another option which serves to eliminate indentations in the bone which foster the colonization of bacteria.
Dental implants - When teeth have been lost due to periodontal disease, the aesthetics and functionality of the mouth can be restored by implanting prosthetic teeth into the jawbone. Tissue regeneration procedures may be required prior to the placement of a dental implant in order to strengthen the bone.
Please contact our office if you have questions or concerns about periodontal disease, periodontal treatment, or dental implants.
Gum Disease Treatment: Periodontal Deep Cleanings
Initial signs of gum disease, such as puffy soft tissue and bleeding while brushing, should be taken seriously so you can seek minimally invasive, effective care. If any of these issues are present in your smile, visit Adler Dental for gentle gum disease treatment in Manhattan. Dr. Adler and Dr. Moed are proud to have a team that takes a highly gentle approach tocaring for patients, especially those scheduled for dental cleanings to correct gum disease.
During root scaling and planing, the area below the gum line is thoroughly cleaned to remove agents of infection, such as debris and bacteria. The roots of your teeth are also smoothed, making it harder for bacteria to re-attach and cause additional irritation. During treatment, we ensure the targeted area is thoroughly numbed for your comfort.
After undergoing a deep cleaning, your gums will have a chance to heal and look and feel healthier. Gum disease treatment is essential in preventing soft tissue recession and adverse effects on teeth and underlying bone.
Healthier Gums through Periodontal Maintenance
After-care is an equal part of the equation in ensuring lasting wellness. Dr. Adler and Dr. Moed use an antibiotic powder, called Arestin, after root scaling and planing, placing the treatment deep into gum pockets to promote improved healing. Arestin remains active for up to a month, effectively neutralizing harmful bacteria and encouraging healthy reattachment of soft tissue to teeth.
Patients who have received gum disease treatment at our Manhattan dental office are encouraged to maintain a more frequent schedule of dental cleanings in the short-term. Instead of visiting once every six months, an exam every three months is recommended to ensure gums remain healthy. After dental health has stabilized, patients can return to their twice-yearly cleaning routine.
Ask our Dentists about Gum Care!
We support healthy and strong smiles for a lifetime through comprehensive exams and deep cleanings. If you have questions about root scaling and planing as gum disease treatment, contact Adler Dental today for a consultation., We refer complicated cases to trusted local periodontal specialists and provide on-going preventive treatment in our office.