According to the CDC (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), more than half of Americans suffer from periodontal (gum) disease.
Periodontal disease is a condition characterized by an infection at and beneath the patient’s gum line. Typically, gums fit snugly against the teeth, keeping out food and bacteria, but when patients suffer from gum disease, periodontal pocketing can form. Periodontal pocketing provides a hospitable environment for bacteria to reproduce, causing periodontitis and potential bone and tooth loss.
The main cause of gum disease is failure to maintain a regular home care regimen and professional dental cleanings and exams. Other causes can include certain medications, medical conditions, heredity, smoking, misaligned teeth, hormones, breathing through the mouth, and poor nutrition.
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
In its early stages, periodontal disease may have subtle or few symptoms such as bad breath and swollen, tender, or sensitive gums. Patients also might experience bleeding while brushing and flossing. As the condition progresses, symptoms can worsen to include significant bleeding, pain, gum recession, bone loss, tooth mobility, and pus at the gum line.
Seeking treatment as soon as symptoms appear increases the likelihood that the patient will achieve a full recovery. In fact, in its early stages, called gingivitis, periodontal disease may be reversible.
Treatment Options for Periodontal Disease
Treatment for periodontal disease depends largely upon how far the patient’s condition has progressed. If treatment starts soon after the symptoms begin, treatment of periodontal disease can effectively control the condition through a series of professional dental cleanings and improved home care.
As the condition becomes more severe, a variety of treatment options can provide relief from symptoms and help to eliminate infection.
Root planing and scaling – A specialized professional dental cleaning that eliminates bacteria, calculus, and plaque above and below the gum line. Often, we will request regular follow-up appointments to monitor the patient’s progress in healing.
Localized antibiotic – In some cases, we may place site-specific antibiotic medication to promote healing and prevent further infection.
Periodontal maintenance – Three to four professional cleanings per year may provide patients who are susceptible to periodontal disease with the support they need to stay healthy and infection free.
Periodontal surgery – In extreme cases, gum surgery may be necessary to completely restore the patient’s health and wellness.
Dr. Olga Frey will provide her professional recommendation to restore optimum periodontal health.
Call to Schedule an Evaluation
Contact the East Providence, RI dental office of Olga Frey, DMD, to schedule a periodontal evaluation and take the first step toward a healthier smile. Her professional and highly skilled dental team looks forward to working with our patients to improve the health and function of their smiles.