Many times, the early stages of periodontal disease are best treated with non-surgical periodontal therapy. This usually consists of placing a fine ultrasonic cleaning tip in between the tooth and gum tissue to remove any plaque and calculus below the gum line. This procedure is performed during root planing and in less advanced cases, shrinking these infected gum pockets can eliminate diseased sites.
Then the patient can personally maintain these areas with routine brushing and flossing. Some causes of gum disease include poor oral hygiene, smoking, teeth grinding, certain medications, pregnancy, and genetics. Early intervention is necessary to reverse gum disease, for both oral health and overall health.
Spot the Signs of Gum Infection – Ask yourself the following:
- Do you have bleeding gums?
- Do you have deep gum pockets?
- Do you have bad breath?
- Are you experiencing any pain when chewing?
- Have past gum treatments not worked well?
Answering yes to any of these questions may mean you are suffering from a gum infection. Without proper treatment, gum disease can affect the health of the entire body, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. The only way to determine if you are dealing with periodontitis is to see a specialized periodontist.
In our practice, even in most severe cases of periodontal disease, non-surgical periodontal therapy most often precedes surgical therapy. This is done so that the overall tissue quality is improved prior to surgery and also limits the areas of required surgery.
Gingivitis and Periodontitis: What is the difference?
Many people use the terms ‘gingivitis’ and ‘periodontitis’ interchangeably, however, these are not the same. Both fall into the spectrum of periodontal disease, yet are gingivitis and periodontitis refer to different stages of progression. Each will require specific treatments to ensure no further development.
Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease. It refers to an inflammation of the gums due to excess plaque on the teeth. The symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen gums that easily bleed when brushing or flossing. These can often go unnoticed, or are easily ignored. However, early treatment is key to preventing further problems. The way to prevent gingivitis is through good oral hygiene at home, routine dental examinations, and preventative care.
Periodontitis refers to a more serious progression of gum disease. In this advanced stage, the gum tissue may pull away from the teeth, creating deep pockets where bacteria can build and lead to infection. Eventually, periodontitis can cause red, swollen gums, pain while eating, poor tooth alignment, mouth sores, and ultimately, the loss of teeth. Periodontitis is a common condition. One study, put out by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), found that 50% of all adults over the age of 30 are suffering from advanced stage gum disease.
Warning Signs of Periodontitis
Bad Breath – When gingivitis has progressed to peritonitis, you may develop persistent bad breath, no matter how often you brush. This is due to the presence of bacteria in the mouth.
Pain – As bacteria settles into the gums, teeth can become sensitive causing pain when chewing or biting.
Tooth trouble – Gingivitis causes irritated, red gums. However, periodontitis can result in teeth shifting, causing your bite to change, fillings to fall out, or dental bridges to fit differently. The teeth may also become loose.
How to Keep Gingivitis from Turning into Periodontitis
An experienced periodontist can prevent gingivitis from turning into to periodontitis. Good oral hygiene, smoking cessation, professional cleanings, and antibiotic therapy can stop the progression of gum disease. At Gallardo Periodontics and Implant Dentistry, the doctor will determine what treatments are best for your situation, walk you through the treatment process, and routinely check that your gingivitis is not worsening.
How is gum disease treated?
Dr. Gallardo will begin treatment by determining the stage of infection, and the condition of your gums using digital x-rays and a thorough examination. At this time, the viable treatment options can be determined, including the use of Modular Periodontal Therapy. This conservative, nonsurgical method is unique and provides exceptional results in the early diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of gingivitis and periodontitis.
Modular Periodontal Therapy
Modular Periodontal Therapy is a noninvasive method for reversing gum disease. By extracting the plaque and tartar under the gums, harmful bacteria and irritants are eliminated. Then, by focusing on the cause of the problem, Modular Periodontal Therapy can prevent the future accumulation of plaque. Modular Periodontal Therapy provides a safe, pain-free method for treating gum disease without the need for more invasive treatments such as flap surgery or grafts.
Treating Periodontitis with Modular Periodontal Therapy
Scaling and polishing are included in routine dental cleaning at the dentist office, although these may not be enough to treat periodontitis. Root planing refers to a deep cleaning process that gets under the gum line, where bacteria can build. The debridement process is vital for an effective gum disease treatment plan.
Irrigation, pulses a jet of high-pressure water through a small handheld device, rinses plaque and tartar away from the surface of the teeth and along the gumline. Irrigation for gum disease can be done at home with tools such as a Water Pik or Hydro Floss. Additionally, routine irrigations performed by a periodontist will use professional-grade device and medicated solutions to ensure maximum control of gum disease.
Treatment with antibiotics is an important step for those patients suffering from advanced gum disease. Antibiotics for gum disease, which may include amoxicillin or metronidazole, can successfully eliminate infection below the gumline, allowing the mouth to heal. When you visit our practice, our experienced professionals will determine what the best course of action is and prescribe any medications, as well as develop a proper treatment plan for you.
Supportive Periodontal Therapy
For periodontal procedures to be successful in the long term and to lessen the dangers of complications we strongly advise our patients to schedule Supportive Periodontal Therapy appointments. Beyond just removing stains and calculus that have formed on your teeth, careful attention is spent in evaluating your teeth to determine if your periodontal disease is in remission or if there is an indication that the disease may be progressing. If we see any signs of progression, we remove the bacteria from below you gum line before irreversible bone loss occurs. Early detection allows a more conservative and cost saving approach to treating any changes in your periodontal disease. Also, as a health benefit to our patients, we perform an oral cancer screening at each of the supportive periodontal treatment appointments.
The American Academy of Periodontology recommends that patients with periodontal disease have supportive periodontal treatment appointments every three to four months. Adherence to this recommendation has proven, through years of clinical research, to be the one overwhelming factor that influences whether or not patients will keep their teeth. Please call today to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced, friendly, and professional dental hygienists.
Stop Periodontal Disease Early
If you are concerned about the health of your gums, or are noticing signs of gingivitis or periodontitis, contact our office to schedule a free consultation. Call our Miami dental office at 305.447.1447 for more information. With the help of Modular Periodontal Therapy, Dr. Gallardo can restore a healthy mouth and gums.
Why choose Dr. Gallardo
- Graduated from the University of Miami
- Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from New York University College of Dentistry
- Accepted into the V.A. Medical Center General Practice Residency Program of the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs where he was honored with the “Outstanding Resident of the Year” Award.
- C.A.G.S. (Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study) from Boston University
- Has lectured nationally and internationally to dentists and hygienists and has been sponsored by companies such as Procter and Gamble to speak on clinical topics related to gum disease and implant dentistry.
- Dr. Gallardo remains on the leading edge of periodontics and implant dentistry through his active and past involvement with University of Florida, Florida Association of Periodontists and North American Society of Periodontists.