Periodontal disease is a chronic infection of the teeth, gums and bones in your mouth. Without proper treatment and maintenance, periodontal disease can result in loss of your teeth and bone as well as increase susceptibility for systemic diseases such as HBP, diabetes and cancer.
Gingivitis usually begins when plaque, the sticky colorless film of bacteria and food particles that forms on your teeth, is not cleaned away on a daily basis. The Art of Cosmetic Dentistry dental team can determine if you have gingivitis during their examination and noticing red, swollen, or bleeding gums. Gingivitis can advance to periodontal disease and X-rays may be needed to check bone levels. Gum disease may also be caused by lifestyle choices such as tobacco use and factors such as medical conditions, trauma, medications, pregnancy and hormone changes. If diagnosed, gingivitis may require you to get more frequent cleanings. A medicated mouthwash or rinse maybe prescribed and homecare technique reviewed. Gingivitis can be reversed. The sooner it is diagnosed, the better chance you have of keeping your smile for a lifetime.
DIAGNOSING PERIODONTAL DISEASE
According to the American Dental Association over 80% of the U. S. population has some form of periodontal disease, a serious infection and the number one reason adults lose teeth. Symptoms for periodontal disease include bleeding gums when flossing or brushing. Gums are often soft, swollen or tender and can begin to pull away from teeth. Other symptoms include teeth mobility, loss and chronic bad breath. Most people with periodontal disease are unaware they have it as some have no noticeable symptoms. Periodontal disease is caused by a long term build-up of plaque, tartar and bacteria that breed in spaces between teeth and gums producing toxins. These toxins combined with your body’s response to them can destroy the bone around your teeth. Once lost, bone does not grown back on its own and eventually teeth lose support becoming loose and have to be removed. To determine if you have periodontal disease a list of measures are taken to show results. X-rays are a valuable tool in diagnosing periodontal disease and aid our dental team in seeing how much bone has been lost. With a probe our team measures the tiny grooves between the teeth and gums, and any reading more than 3 millimeters could be a sign of periodontal disease and these areas are automatically noted and put on a watch. Our goal is to help each patient maintain their oral health by having healthy teeth, gums and bone. If we find periodontal disease, our doctors and hygienists will immediately discuss your treatment options and proper homecare.
ULTRASONIC SCALING VS. HAND SCALING
Art of Cosmetic Dentistry uses ultrasonic scaling as one of the most effective procedures for removing plaque and tartar by using a small scaling tip attached to a wand that uses ultrasonic vibrations and a gentle flow of water. The tip moves along the tooth surface making quick, small vibrations that break up plaque and tartar, with minimal disruption to gum tissue. In some cases our hygienists prefer the ultrasonic scaler to hand scaling their patients because it can be a gentler, less invasive way to remove hard plaque and tarter deposits. In addition, a medicated rinse can be added to the ultrasonic scaling to treat infections and help healing. Our dentists and hygienists will gladly discuss the individual benefits and differences of ultrasonic and hand scaling for each patient.
SCALING AND ROOT PLANING
Healthy mouth cleanings involve routine cleanings above the gum area, while most patients with active periodontal disease require more frequent cleanings below the gum line. Art of Cosmetic Dentistry offers scaling and root planning, often referred to as SRP, to eliminate the source of periodontal infection below the gum line including plaque, tartar and bacteria. Our goal is to protect your periodontal health, and when possible we will offer you periodontal treatment at our office. However, if our doctors and hygienists feel your periodontal condition will be best served by seeking specialized care we will refer you to a specialist. Patient comfort is a key factor at Art of Cosmetic Dentistry and for this reason we usually numb the areas we will be treating prior to the procedure beginning. SRP may be required for the full mouth or for some patients only a few specific sections. Our hygienists meticulously work using special instruments to remove the toxic bacteria, tartar build up and smooth affected root surfaces. This treatment may be achieved in one visit or may require several visits to eliminate infection, heal the gums and restore your healthy smile. Please let us know if you suspect you have periodontal disease or have been treated for periodontal risk factors prior to or on the date of your new patient hygiene cleaning.
SMOKING AND PERIODONTAL DISEASE
Periodontal disease is the infection affecting 80% of our U.S. population, yet most people don’t notice any symptoms and do not even know they have it. Dr. Ray Morgan and the associates at Art of Cosmetic Dentistry diagnose periodontal disease through meticulous gum and bone measurements as well as risk factors such as smoking. Periodontal disease and smoking can cause you to lose your teeth if untreated. Smokers have an increased risk and more likely to have periodontal disease because smoking reduces saliva production, limits the body’s ability to fight off infection and eliminates essential nutrients for healthy teeth and bones. Smoking also decreases disease-fighting antibodies that help fight destructive bacteria in the mouth and help gums heal. Choosing not to smoke will not only limit your chances of being diagnosed with periodontal disease but it will also increase your chances to maintain your beautiful, healthy smile.
PERIODONTAL MAINTENANCE VISITS
Periodontal disease cannot be cured; it can only be controlled with close examination of oral health tissues, bone levels and active bacteria growth at least every 3 months or sooner as determined by the Art of Cosmetic Dentistry doctors and hygienists. If left unmonitored after treatment, scaling and root planning may have to be performed again. In addition, symptoms may worsen destroying bone and soft tissues that can cause you to lose your teeth. Twice per year cleanings are not sufficient and considered unsafe for periodontal disease patients. More frequent recall visits disrupt bacterial growth and allow our team to follow your progress by checking bone levels with X-rays, measuring periodontal pocket depth, plaque removal above/below the gum line and evaluating homecare. Please discuss your periodontal recall schedule with the Art of Cosmetic Dentistry team. We will gladly review your treatment plan, expectations, results and homecare options to help you attain the best understanding of your periodontal condition.
SCALING AND ROOT PLANING AFTERCARE INSTRUCTIONS
Scaling and root planning is an aggressive procedure designed to destroy and eliminate harmful plaque, tartar and below the gum bacteria that can result in bone and teeth loss. It is normal to experience discomfort for several days following the procedure. To ensure increased comfort and successful healing after this procedure follow these recommendations:
- Try not to eat until numbness has completely worn off
- 2-3 days after the procedure try to restrict your diet to soft foods until you can comfortably chew. Chewing on the opposite side of your procedure is recommended.
- Avoid mouthwashes containing alcohol, alcoholic beverages and spicy foods, as these are irritants that may irritate your gums until healed.
- Stop smoking or using any tobacco products for at least the first 72 hours, as tobacco inhibits healing by restricting oxygen to oral health tissues.
- If an anesthetic was used, take pain medication to prevent some discomfort following the numbing.
- For the first 6 hours afterward, apply an ice pack every 20 minutes to affected area to decrease pain and swelling.
- If prescribed, use a medicated mouthwash as directed, no mouthwashes containing alcohol are recommended.
- After 24 hours, reduce swelling and discomfort by dissolving 1 teaspoon of salt per glass of warm water if needed.
- Brush affected area lightly the first night and softly until healed.
- The day following the procedure, light flossing and brushing the affected area may be necessary. Use a desensitizing toothpaste if your teeth are sensitive to hold, cold or pressure.
- Contact our office if you have any questions at 404-816-8200. Swelling should not continue or increase past 3-4 days after service.