Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms around your teeth and your gums. Build-up over time causes your gums to swell, become irritated, and bleed. Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease. As your gums weaken, pockets form between your gums and teeth. Periodontal therapy becomes necessary before tooth and bone loss results. Prevention begins with good daily oral techniques.
Non-Surgical Periodontal Hygiene Techniques
• Daily brushing and flossing
Brushing and flossing once or twice a day may help prevent periodontal disease. It helps remove food particles in which bacteria will breed, becoming plaque and tartar. Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle, brush side to side and up and down for 2 minutes. Replace your toothbrush when the bristles fray or tilt to one side. Every three months is a good policy.
Nutrition relates to oral health. High carbohydrate and sugary diet lead to a formation of plague and encourages dental decay. Acidic metabolism causes inflammation. Some personal habits such as smoking exhaust your body’s healing nutrients. Taking supplements or eating food high in vitamins A, C, E and K may relieve inflammation of periodontal tissue. Balancing fats and proteins and increasing plant-based foods in your diet may have a positive effect on periodontal healing.
• Professional cleanings
Expert cleaning removes gummy deposits and hardened build-up under the gum line. Plaque and tartar encourage tooth decay and promote periodontal disease. Professional cleaning once a year and conscientious oral home care can prevent halitosis and gingivitis. To control worsening inflammation, you may need to schedule cleanings throughout the year.
• Scaling and root planning
Scaling removes calculus deposits on your teeth and cleans the deep pockets under your gums into the roots. Calculus deposits are tartar, plaque, and bacteria. Applied antimicrobials and antibiotics help heal affected tissue. In planning, your doctor smooths the roots so your gums will reattach to your teeth. Sometimes, you will need to uphold regular professional treatments.
• Occlusal adjustments
Occlusal adjustments reshape your bite. An uneven bite may be because of irregularly shaped, loose, missing, or overcrowded teeth. Uneven teeth may cause excessive wearing, cracked or chipped teeth. Often, misaligned teeth make daily oral home care difficult leading to irritated gums, inflammation, receding gums, pocket formations, and possible bone and tooth loss. Adjustments are minor and need no anesthetic when corrected early.
• Reduce plaque with an antiseptic or fluoride toothpaste and toothpaste. Buy it over-the-counter without a prescription.
• Oral probiotics may help balance friendly bacteria and harmful microbes that cause plaque build-up.
• Chlorhexidine is a common antiseptic in a mouthwash that cleans the gums. It promotes a clean oral environment where germs cannot grow and cause infection.
• Prescription antibiotics stop bacterial infections. Take Amoxicillin, Doxycycline, Minocycline or Tetracycline by mouth or apply directly to the infected area.
When caught early, the harm caused by gum disease is lessened. But ignoring gingivitis allows the periodontal disease to flourish. Damage to gum and bone needs immediate periodontal therapy. There are several treatments to reverse or fix oral damage. You will need to cooperate with your dentist specializing in chronic gum disease treatment.
Professional Periodontal Disease Treatments
• Pocket reduction procedures
Pockets between your tooth and gum allow particles to settle and breed bacteria. Your periodontist removes plaque and tartar from your teeth and under your gums. If cleaning involves the bone, the bone is smoothed before attaching the gums. In a healthy clean environment, your gums will re-grow tight against your tooth.
Regeneration is a method used when gum recession has caused supporting bone to dissolve. Your periodontist pulls back the receding gum and removes bacteria from the inflamed gum tissue. She inserts a mesh-like fabric between your gum and the bone promoting bone tissue regrowth. The gum is pulled over the affected site and secured in place.
Pedicle grafts are performed when there’s healthy coverage near receding gums. A flap from healthy tissue is cut leaving an edge of the gum attached. The flap of loose gum is pulled over the recessed gum and stitched in place.
Connective tissue grafts treat exposed roots. The tissue under the skin of your palate is cut away and grafted to gum tissue covering an exposed root. The thin layer of skin on your palate is secured to the roof of your mouth.
• Crown lengthening
Crown lengthening with a procedure, called osseous surgery, reduces gum tissue that grows over your teeth. Your gums and bone are cut and shaped to lengthen your teeth. Sometimes, your tooth needs to be prepared so a crown can be attached. Oral hygiene is better once excess gum is removed and a crown is properly fitted.
Metal screw posts screw into your jawbone as new roots for your tooth. After three to six months of healing, your new custom crowns are fixed. They’re stable, secure, with a feel and look of real teeth.
Periodontal disease is insidious and can create serious oral problems before you realize it. Oral inflammation may also be connected to other health issues such as diabetes, bacterial pneumonia, and heart disease. Discuss oral hygiene techniques and periodontal disease treatments with a periodontist, a Doctor of Dental Medicine.
Dr. Marissa Crandall-Cruz is a Doctor of Dental Medicine, earning a bachelor’s degree in biology, master’s degrees in biomedical science and oral biology. She’s completed periodontology and oral implantology programs. Dr. Crandall-Cruz is a member of the Delaware Valley Academy of Osseointegration, Academy of Stomatology of Philadelphia, American Dental Association, and the American Academy of Periodontology. She is also Diplomat of the American Board of Periodontology, and Diplomate of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (DICOI).
Staying abreast of cutting edge periodontal therapy, Dr. Marissa Crandall-Cruz’s expertise is bone and periodontal regeneration, dental implant therapy, and periodontal treatment in the King of Prussia area.