Periodontics involves the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease. Our team has the expertise and experience to help you keep your teeth, gums, and jaw healthy.
You may need periodontal treatment for any of several reasons.
Some of these include:
- Periodontal disease
- Bacterial infection in the gums
- Bleeding, red, or swollen gums
- Receding jawbone
- Localized gum recession
- Bacterial plaque and calculus (tartar) buildup
- Loosening teeth
- Excess gum tissue
- Tooth root exposure
- Tooth root damage
- Severe tooth fracture
Whatever your needs, our skilled team will provide you with excellent care and treatment. That way, you're able to restore your optimal oral health.
What's Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease ranges from a mild inflammation of the gum tissues to periodontitis. Periodontitis is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the United States. It's also a major oral disease that can result in soft tissue and bone damage.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
One of the major causes of gum disease is practicing poor oral hygiene habits. Daily brushing and flossing are essential to maintaining optimal oral health. We also recommend that you schedule regular professional exams and cleanings.
When these practices are not followed, plaque can form on the teeth and along the gums. If this plaque is not removed, it may harden over time and become tartar. Once that occurs, only a dental professional can remove the tartar from teeth.
Other common risk factors include diabetes, smoking, and female hormonal changes. Certain medications can also affect the gums. For example, people who receive AIDS treatment may have a higher risk of periodontal disease.
Many recent studies have found that untreated periodontal disease may negatively affect the rest of the body. This is especially true for patients with cardiovascular disease or diabetes.
Diagnosing Periodontal Disease
Our dentist or hygienist will diagnose periodontal disease through a series of tests. First, we will check the depth of the gum pockets between your teeth and gums. Then, we will check for inflammation, bleeding, loose teeth, and bone loss.
Based on our findings, we'll diagnose the stage of periodontal disease. From there, we'll be able to recommend an appropriate course of treatment.
Stages Of Periodontal Disease
If gum disease is not treated in time, tartar may continue to build unchecked. When this occurs, the gum disease may advance to gingivitis.
In this stage, gums redden, swell, and become prone to bleeding. Other common symptoms include bad breath, sensitive teeth, and difficulty chewing. At this point, you'll need professional treatment to prevent the gingivitis from worsening.
When gingivitis is not treated in time, it may become periodontitis. Periodontitis is the most advanced form of periodontal disease.
With periodontitis, gums pull away from the teeth to create small “pockets” along the gums. These spaces are difficult to clean without professional intervention. In the long run, they can lead to rapid worsening in oral health.
Without prompt and thorough treatment, periodontitis will destroy bone, gums, and soft tissues.
Here's a recap of the different stages of periodontal disease:
Gingivitis: The first stage of periodontal disease. It's characterized by inflamed, tender, bleeding gums and plaque buildup.
Periodontitis: The second stage of periodontal disease. Symptoms include tartar, receding gums, deep gum pockets, and early stages of bone loss.
Advanced Periodontitis: The final stage of periodontal disease. Symptoms include destruction of the gums, bone, and ligament tissues. You may also experience loose teeth, tooth loss, and more severe bone loss.
Periodontitis is irreversible. But there are a variety of treatment options available to help you mitigate the symptoms.
We'll first recommend conservative treatments based on your current stage of periodontal disease.
We'll also follow up with you to determine whether to continue with your current plan, advance to more aggressive treatment options, or shift into the maintenance care phase of treatment.
Conservative treatment for periodontal disease includes several options:
- Deep cleaning or planing to remove plaque and calculus from your teeth
- Prescription mouth rinse to chemically treat the bacterial infection
- Over-the-counter fluoride treatment to help prevent tooth decay
- Certain toothpastes may assist in disrupting bacteria in the mouth
More aggressive therapy includes surgical options, such as:
- Pocket reduction to reduce the depth of gum pockets
- Bone grafting or bone regeneration to help restore lost bone tissue
- Gum grafting to make thin gums more resistant to infection or to cover exposed teeth roots
Once we complete your treatment, we'll shift your plan to the maintenance care stage. That will help ensure that the disease doesn't recur or progress further.
Request an Appointment With Us
Our Grand Rapids dentist is ready to help you restore your oral health! To request an appointment, call Nichols Family Dentistry at (616) 333-8496.