Periodontitis (Gum Disease)

Periodontitis, more commonly known as gum disease, occurs when bacteria invade the gum and tissue surrounding the teeth causing inflammation, ultimately resulting in tooth loss. Gum disease can be tricky because even in moderate to severe stages of the disease the patient may not experience any pain. There are warning signs you can look out for:

  • Bad breath or bad taste in mouth
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Gums tender to touch or brushing
  • Pain upon chewing
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
  • Changes in your bite
Periodontal Disease
It is important to note that Periodontal disease is a chronic condition that cannot be cured, but it can be predictably maintained. Depending on the disease progression one or more of the following  treatments may be utilized:

  • Scaling and Root Planing: during this procedure your Hygienist physically removes plaque and tartar build up from all surfaces of the teeth and pockets below the gum line. Tartar is dried hardened debris that once it forms can only be removed by your Hygienist. As this builds and builds along the surfaces of your teeth, it harbors bacteria and causes increased inflammation.
  • Laser Bacterial Reduction: the dental laser is used to destroy colonies of bacteria that have invaded the oral tissues and settled in areas you can’t reach with your brush or floss. The laser energy disinfects the area and allows for the tissues to heal so that it decreases the chances of the bacteria returning.
  • Arestin: Arestin is an antibiotic commonly used after Scaling and Root Planing. In order to allow the gum tissue to heal properly, antibiotics may be recommended as an adjunct that can significantly improve the healing of the tissues. Arestin is in a powdered form and is delivered directly into the infected pockets beneath the gum line for localized infection control. The laser will wipe out the bacteria initially, but in deeper pockets that will take longer to heal, the chance of reinfection increases, so the use of Arestin helps maintain a bacteria free pocket to allow the body time to heal it so the bacteria has less opportunity to return.
  • Periodontal Maintenance: This is the most important aspect of Periodontal therapy! Since periodontal disease doesn’t have a cure, it is of vital importance that you stick to the maintenance intervals recommended by your Hygienist. For many people that means twice a year, for others it may mean 3 or even 4 times a year.

Our experienced team at Waco Family Dentistry want you to have a happy and healthy smile for life! Undergoing therapy and maintaining your condition per your Hygienist’s recommendation reduces the stress on the bone and tissues and greatly decreases the chance that you will experience tooth loss due to periodontal disease. If you suspect you have periodontal disease or have questions regarding the health of the gums and bone around your teeth, call us!