Periodontal (Gum) Disease Treatment
Gum disease, known as gingivitis (or it’s more severe form, periodontitis), refers to the inflammation of the gums (gingiva). It results from accumulation of bacteria near the gum line, causing bacterial invasion into the tissues of the body. If not addressed and treated, gingivitis will lead to recession of the gums, bone loss, tooth loss, and systemic disease.
4 Stages of Gum Disease
- Crevice (“sulcus”) depth under 3 millimeters deep: Food debris and bacteria accumulates in the crevice between the gum and the tooth. A healthy crevice (“sulcus”) will be no more than three millimeters deep and can be easily cleansed using good oral hygiene practices.
- Sulcus depth exceeds 3 millimeters: It’s increasingly difficult to disperse food particles. Bacterial microbes flourish. Vulnerable tissue begins to deteriorate and fibers attaching the tooth to the gum can be destroyed. The result is an even deeper crevice, or pocket.
- Gingival pocket: The depth of the sulcus has moved toward the root of the tooth, but has not yet destroyed the connective tissue fibers connecting the tooth to the gum. Gingival pockets are reversible if the sufferer adopts a stricter and more thorough oral hygiene routine.
- Periodontal Pocket: The depth is at such a point that the connective fibers have been irreversibly destroyed. If bleeding is occurring regularly without any apparent reason, this is a strong indicator that a gingival pocket has progressed to the more serious periodontal pocket. If you taste blood in your mouth at any time, particularly after waking, arrange to see Dr. Wolpo immediately!
To rectify a periodontal pocket, surgery may be necessary in the form of a gingival graft. Tissue may be removed from the palate and stitched into place at the affected site, or a flap of adjacent gum may be cut and repositioned.
Signs of Gingivitis
- Swollen gums
- Bleeding gums (especially when brushing or flossing)
- Shiny or red gums
- Associated pain
- Bad breath or foul smelling gums
- Gum recession (teeth appear longer)
Dental animation on gum recession
Causes of Gingivitis
- Most often caused by plaque accumulation and poor oral hygiene habits
- Hormonal changes (i.e. pregnancy)
- Certain medications that may suppress the immune system
- Sensitivity or allergy to things like aspirin, vitamin E, ginkgo biloba, and things of that nature. These supplements and OTC medications can sometimes act as blood thinners.
By reducing anaerobic bacterial populations utilizing the following methods, you can improve your chances of defeating dreaded gum disease and avoiding expensive treatments. Dental animation on scaling
“At Home” Treatment
Thorough oral hygiene: Brush a minimum of 2 minutes after each meal, clean your tongue, gently floss and use mouthwash, preferably with cholorohexidine. If this regimen is followed precisely, unwanted bacteria can be removed and the bleeding will eventually stop.
Additional ideas for cleansing the mouth:
- Oral irrigation: An oral irrigator can save you from expensive office treatments.
- Xylitol: This is a naturally occurring sugar that is very good for dental health. The bad bacteria in your mouth can not stand it. It can kill them and restore your mouth pH to normal levels.
- Oxygenated mouthwash: This also helps to fight the oxygen hating, ‘bad’ bacteria. This is simply because the oxygen can destroy the bad bacteria or cause it to revert to a form of metabolism that is not as harmful to your teeth and gum tissue.
Help from Dr. Wolpo
- Visit Dr. Wolpo and get a cleaning: He will be able to effectively remove plaque and calculus, the main causes of gingivitis. However, it’s up to you to maintain the plaque free mouth after this point (see “at home treatment” above).
- Antibiotics: If serious, the Dr. Wolpo may prescribe antibiotics to control the bacterial invasion.
Click Images for Animations
All in all, gingivitis can easily be managed if addressed early. Take the right steps in keeping up with your oral hygiene to maintain a healthy smile.
The benefits of a happy, healthy smile are immeasurable!
Sincerely, Stephen H. Wolpo, D.D.S.
Smile Sensations Dental Practice
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