Gum Treatment in Fishkill, NY
A healthy smile includes both healthy teeth and healthy gums. The bacteria in your mouth can attack the enamel of your teeth and also attack the gum tissue and bone that hold your teeth in place.
If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, you’re not alone. Half of Americans over the age of 30 have some form of periodontal disease. “Peri” means around and “dontic” means tooth; periodontal disease is just another way of saying gum disease.
What is a Periodontist?
Periodontists are dentists who have an additional two years of training in diagnosing and treatment gum disease, replacing missing teeth with dental implants, and improving smiles through periodontal treatment.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
The bacteria in plaque and tartar can spread below the gum line and erode the tissues and bone that hold the teeth in place.
There are several factors that can lead to periodontal disease, including:
- Poor dental hygiene
- Poor tooth alignment
- Poor nutrition
- Genetic predisposition
- Systemic diseases such as diabetes
What Are Common Signs of Periodontal Disease?
Many times, periodontal disease starts as a painless infection with few symptoms. As it advances, you may have one or more of these signs of periodontal disease:
- Red, puffy, or bleeding gums
- Gum recession
- Bad breath
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Loose teeth
- Pus around the teeth
What Are the Types of Gum Disease?
Many people don’t realize that the first stage of gum disease is gingivitis. It is the only stage that can be reversed with professional dental treatment and good dental hygiene at home.
If the gingivitis is not treated, it can lead to periodontitis. As the disease progresses, it breaks down the tissues and bones that support the teeth, causing the gums to separate from the teeth. These are called “pockets.” More bacteria can gather in the pockets, leading to further destruction of the gum tissue and bone.
Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. It has also been linked to diabetes, heart disease, and other diseases.
How is Periodontal Disease Treated?
Many people don’t realize that a regular teeth cleaning, called a prophylaxis, only polishes the tooth above the gum line. To treat bacteria below the gum line, the periodontist or hygienist will use a technique called scaling and root planing to remove plaque and tartar from periodontal pockets and smooth the tooth root to remove bacteria. If needed, an antibiotic can also be applied to treat the gum infection.
You may require more frequent teeth cleanings and periodontal maintenance in order to treat the infected areas and keep the gum disease from advancing. Gum disease is a systemic disease; it’s only reversible when it’s caught in the gingivitis stage.
If the bone supporting your teeth has been destroyed due to periodontal disease, your periodontist may recommend a regenerative procedure like a bone graft, tissue graft, or tissue-simulating proteins to regenerate bone and tissue.
What Can I Do at Home to Prevent Gum Disease?
The most effective way to prevent gum disease is to have professional teeth cleanings at least twice a year – more if you require periodontal maintenance – and proper at-home oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth after every meal and flossing at least once a day will prevent tartar build-up on your teeth and below your gum line.