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.
- Gingivitis and Periodontitis: What is the difference?
- What Are the Types of Periodontitis?
- Warning Signs of Periodontitis
- What Causes Periodontitis?
- How to Keep Gingivitis from Turning into Periodontitis
- How is gum disease treated?
- Modular Periodontal Therapy
- Treating Periodontitis with Modular Periodontal Therapy
- Treatment for Advanced Periodontitis
- Supportive Periodontal Therapy
- Stop Periodontal Disease Early
- Why choose Dr. Gallardo
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.
What Are the Types of Periodontitis?
There are three primary types of periodontitis that you should know about. These include:
- Aggressive periodontitis: This type usually starts during early adulthood or childhood. It is relatively uncommon but can cause rapid tooth and bone loss if left untreated.
- Chronic periodontitis: This is the most common type of periodontitis and older adults are more likely to be affected than children and young adults. It occurs as a result of plaque accumulation that causes a slow deterioration of the gums and tooth structures. If left untreated, it can result in bone and tooth loss along with gum destruction.
- Necrotizing periodontal disease: This form of periodontal disease involves tooth ligament, gum tissue, and supporting bone death as the result of reduced blood supply. It ultimately results in a significant infection. People with cancer, HIV and other conditions that suppress the immune system are at the highest risk. Malnutrition is also a possible cause.
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.
Some of the following symptoms may also occur:
- Puffy or swollen gums
- Gums that are tender to the touch
- Receding gums that start to pull away from the teeth
- Dusky red, bright red, or purplish gums
- Easy bleeding from your gums
- Pus between your gums and teeth
- Teeth fitting together differently
In the most advanced stages, you may start to lose some of your teeth. It is also possible for the bacteria that cause gum disease to get into your bloodstream. From there, it can affect other areas of your body, including your heart.
What Causes Periodontitis?
Gum irritation that leads to periodontitis typically starts when plaque begins to build up. This sticky substance occurs as the result of an interaction between normal oral bacteria and the sugars and starches in the foods that we eat. If you do not brush your teeth regularly, this plaque will continue to accumulate and can develop into tartar.
Tartar is a hardened substance that can build up below your gum line. Compared to plaque, it is much harder to remove and can require the help of a dentist. As plaque and tartar remain in place, they can cause gingivitis to develop, which is the mildest type of periodontal disease.
As the gums become chronically inflamed, pockets can develop between your teeth and gums. These are filled with tartar, bacteria, and plaque. Without treatment, the pockets can grow deeper and increase your risk of infection and tooth loss.
Certain factors increase your risk of periodontitis, including:
- Chewing or smoking tobacco
- Menopause, pregnancy and other hormonal changes
- Conditions that can reduce your immunity, such as cancer treatments
- Poor oral hygiene habits
- Substance abuse
- Inadequate nutrition
- Certain diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and diabetes
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.
Treatment for Advanced Periodontitis
If your periodontitis is more advanced, surgical methods might be needed. There are several options that your dentist may discuss with you, including:
- Soft tissue grafts: These are placed to reinforce soft tissues that have been lost due to gum recession. Your surgeon may harvest the grafts from your body or use donor tissue.
- Flap surgery: This is a surgical procedure that allows for intensive root planing and scaling.
- Guided tissue regeneration: This procedure is done to initiate bone regrowth. It uses biocompatible fabric to provide structure and support.
- Bone grafting If the bone around a tooth root is destroyed, bone grafting may be considered. It uses fragments of your bone or donor bone to reconstruct the jaw. The purpose is to keep your tooth in place so that you do not lose it.
- Tissue-stimulating proteins: For this procedure, healthy tissue and bone growth are stimulated using a special gel.
You should get help as quickly as possible for periodontitis so that you can minimize the damage that it causes. When caught early enough, you can also stop tooth loss from occurring.
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.