What does gum disease entail?

Gum disease means that the bone and attachment around the teeth has started to pull back away from the teeth. Once we lose that bone, we can't get it back, but we can manage it.

What should someone do if they have gum disease or bone loss around the teeth?

If you have gum disease or bone loss around the teeth, come in. We'll do some gum measurements, clean all that stuff out that's in there. We can then go down in the pocket that gets created from the gum pulling back away from the tooth and clean the tooth with a laser and some irrigating solutions to disinfect and kill off the bacteria.

What happens after the removal of the bacteria?

Following the removal of the bacteria that's causing the gum disease, the gum will reattach to the tooth.

Do you have any additional information about laser treatment in your office?

If you are interested in learning more about laser treatment, we do have some videos available for you to view.

Are there any factors that place someone at higher risk for gum disease?

Yes, diabetes is a big risk factor. Many of our patients can have enhanced cleaning benefits if we notify the insurance company that they have diabetes. This is because there's a high link to gum disease and they know that it needs to be managed.

What is the treatment for periodontal disease?

The treatment for periodontal disease is to get the bacteria out. We can't get the bone to come back, but we can get the gum to reattach to the tooth. The main thing is managing it, preventing it from getting worse, and we do this by cleanings every three to four months.

Is periodontal disease curable?

Once you have gum disease or periodontal disease, we can manage it, but we can't ever cure it. It's like high blood pressure; you manage it, but curing it is much more challenging.

How is the initial treatment for gum disease carried out?

We want to do an initial scaling and root planing or deep cleaning, which includes numbing because it would be uncomfortable to do that without numbing. We then need to manage that from coming back, and we do that by cleanings every three to four months.

How does the bacteria that causes gum disease behave?

This bacteria doesn't actually grow on the tooth itself. It grows on other bacteria that are already on the tooth. So, regular cleanings every three months for 95% of the population will keep things stable.

What happens if the initial therapy is not followed up with maintenance?

If you let that lapse, it will relapse. We will have to do or redo the scaling and root planing or deep planning.

Are there any groups of people that don't respond well to the therapy?

Yes, one group is smokers. Smoking places you at higher risk for managing or controlling gum disease. The other group is diabetics. Diabetes makes you at higher risk for all kinds of infection and makes it harder to heal.

How can diabetics manage their condition to prevent gum disease?

Diabetics can manage their condition by controlling their blood sugar levels. There are many therapies available now to help bring down blood sugar, which will help not only your overall health but your dental health as well.

What happens if periodontal disease is left untreated?

If it's left untreated, eventually you'll lose enough bone that the tooth will become mobile and painful or might die and will have to be extracted.

Is there any correlation between gum disease and other health conditions?

Yes, there is a high correlation. Periodontal disease can worsen heart disease, strokes, some types of cancer, lung conditions, and many other health conditions. The chronic inflammation or infection in the mouth that's getting into the bloodstream raises the inflammation throughout the body.

How often should people visit the dental office?

It's critical to maintain frequent visits to the office so we can assess the gum health, keep the gums healthy, and help prevent not only bone loss around the teeth or tooth loss, but also maintain your overall health.

If you have any questions, give us a call at the office, (703) 451-4500.