The Importance of Healthy Gums To Your Oral Health
Strong, healthy teeth are important, but just as important are strong, healthy gums. Your gums are the bedrock of your teeth and they need care and attention in order to support your smile. That’s why the dentists at JB Dental Associates and TMD & Sleep Center offer periodontics and periodontal services to prevent, diagnose, and treat gum disease. Keep reading to learn more about periodontal disease and the periodontics offered by our skilled dental professionals.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease, also called gum disease, refers to a chronic infection and/or inflammation of the gums. The main cause of gum disease is bacterial buildup in the form of plaque and tartar. Plaque is a whitish or yellowish mixture of food particles and bacteria and tartar is the hardened form of plaque, which requires professional cleaning to be removed.
The bacteria found in these substances produce acid that eats away at your teeth and gums, making them more susceptible to infection. As the cycle continues, resulting oral health issues can include tooth decay, cavities, and of course gum disease.
Other causes of gum disease include:
- Lack of regular oral hygiene
- Tobacco use
- Clenching and teeth grinding (bruxism)
- Poor nutrition
Signs of Periodontal Disease
The following symptoms are often a good indicator that you may have, or are developing, periodontal disease and require professional periodontal services:
- Loose or separating teeth
- Changes in bite alignment
- Partial dentures or bridges not fitting correctly
- Damaged or dysfunctional fillings
- Persistent bad breath
- Metal taste in your mouth
- Pus between gums/teeth
- A sore on your gums that doesn’t improve after 2 weeks
- Tender or swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Gums that recede or pull away from your teeth
If you believe you’re suffering from any of the symptoms mentioned above, contact our Sterling, VA office by dialing 703-444-4188 and schedule an appointment.
Stages of Gum Disease
Gingivitis – The earliest stage of gum disease, gingivitis is usually characterized by minor swelling and tenderness, although you might not feel any pain or notice any difference at all. It’s also the only stage where periodontal disease can be not only halted, but reversed. At this point, refining your oral hygiene regimen and seeing your dentist for exams can almost always stop the progression and undo the damage caused by the disease.
Initial Periodontist – Initial or slight periodontist is the next stage of periodontal disease, where the disease starts to attack the gum tissue and bone supporting your teeth. At this stage, damage becomes irreversible but usually isn’t too severe.
Moderate Periodontitis – Similar to initial periodontitis, moderate periodontitis is where the disease becomes even more aggressive. The major difference between initial periodontitis and moderate periodontitis is that the bacteria can now enter your bloodstream, allowing it to travel to other parts of your body. In fact, this is a major reason why gum disease may contribute to heart disease.
Advanced Periodontitis – The most aggressive stage of periodontitis, advanced periodontitis involves even further destruction of gum and bone. If you’ve reached this stage, tooth loss becomes an almost certainty without professional intervention including multiple dental visits, treatments, and surgical procedures.
Whether you’re hoping to prevent periodontal disease or periodontal disease has already taken root, our Sterling dentists offer professional services that can help. Keep reading to learn more about our periodontics and how you can benefit.
Periodontics and Periodontal Services
Antibiotic Treatment – Antibiotics are medications that our dentists can prescribe to combat the spread of bacteria and alleviate infection. Oral antibiotics are placed under the gum tissues, where the medication is released gradually over a matter of weeks. In the case of topical antibiotics, your dentist will give you instructions on where and how to apply them. Your dentist may recommend antibiotic treatment alongside other treatments to make them more effective.
Bone Grafting – Bone grafting involves using transplanted bone, usually from another part of your body, to replace lost bone tissue in your mouth. Replacing the bone will reinforce your teeth and jaw while also encouraging further bone growth.
Crown Lengthening – Crown lengthening allows your Sterling dentist to correct the appearance of your gum line. The first method of crown lengthening, called functional lengthening, exposes enough of the tooth to anchor a new dental crown, helping to prevent future damage. The second method, called cosmetic lengthening, involves your Sterling dentist removing excess swollen or puffy gum tissue, making the gum line more even.
Gum Disease Treatment – Gum disease treatment can refer to a number of different methods and procedures to help repair the effects of the infection once it’s already established itself. These treatments can include many of the periodontal services mentioned on this page.
Gum Grafting – Gum grafting allows your Sterling dentist to replace lost tissue. By taking soft tissue from other parts of your mouth, your Sterling dentist can replace lost gum tissue, cover exposed tooth roots, even out your smile, and reduce pain and sensitivity.
Periodontal Disease – At JB Dental Associates and TMD & Sleep Center, we firmly believe that knowledge is key to fighting periodontal disease. You can learn more about periodontal disease, including its effects, its link to other health issues, and methods for preventing it by reading about it here.
Pocket Reduction Surgery – Pocket reduction helps remove and prevent bacteria-laden plaque and tartar build-up beneath your gums. While root planing and scaling serves a similar purpose, pocket reduction is often a necessary procedure when gum disease has reached an advanced stage.
Ridge Modification – Ridge modification allows your Sterling dentist to correct deformities in the upper and lower jaw which may result from periodontal disease. During ridge modification, your dentist will lift away the gums to expose the defect and fill it in with a bone graft. The incision is closed and allowed to heal to promote bone regeneration.
Scaling and Root Planing – Scaling and root planing are processes your dentists can use to remove bacteria from around your teeth and beneath your gum line to promote healing and improve your smile. During the scaling phase, your dentist will remove the excess bacterial build-up from beneath your gum line and around your teeth. Your roots will also be smoothed with root planing to help prevent bacteria from reaccumulating and to help your gums reattach to your teeth.
Sinus Augmentation – Sinus augmentation involves replacing any lost bone to raise the sinus floor. If you’re planning to have dental implants installed, replacing bone that’s been lost due to gum disease is vital, as it will help prevent upper-jaw implants from failing or piercing your sinuses.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the relationship between periodontics and implants?
Without healthy gums, the dental implant procedure is much less likely to be successful. In fact, most dentists won’t approve a patient with unhealthy gums for dental implants unless they first undergo supplemental procedures like gum grafting. With periodontics, our Sterling dentists can improve and maintain your gum health, so your implants remain sturdy and functional for many years to come.
Are periodontal treatments covered by insurance?
Since periodontal disease is a serious issue requiring necessary treatment, most insurance plans should cover at least a portion of your procedure. However, we highly recommend contacting your dental insurance provider beforehand and asking them which costs they can cover. If you’re underinsured or uninsured, don’t panic. Our practice proudly offers financial assistance in the form of financing options to help make your periodontal treatment more affordable.
Who should I see for periodontics, my general dentist or a periodontist?
You may need to see both a general dentist and a periodontist for periodontal treatment. Depending on the severity of your case, our dental professionals may refer you to a periodontist for additional evaluation and treatment. Rest assured that even if you don’t see a periodontist, we have the skills necessary to prevent and treat periodontal disease.
How long does periodontal treatment last?
The time frame for your periodontal treatment will vary based on numerous factors. These factors include whether or not you have already developed gum disease, what stage of gum disease you’re experiencing, whether or not you’re dealing with one or multiple oral issues, etc. Rest assured that your Sterling, VA dentist will give you an accurate time frame estimate during your consultation.
For Periodontics & Periodontal Treatment, Call Us Today!
Through the use of periodontics, our talented dentists can help you prevent periodontal disease, or effectively treat it as soon as possible for better healing and recovery. We proudly offer our years of experience in periodontics to patients from Sterling and surrounding areas such as Arlington, Fairfax, and Rockville, VA.
If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of periodontics, contact JB Dental Associates and TMD & Sleep Center by dialing 703-444-4188. You can also submit the contact form in the upper-right hand corner and a friendly team member will get back to you shortly.