Gum Disease Therapy
Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss for American adults. Reports indicate that millions of people are unaware that they have gum disease, and about one third of the population is genetically susceptible to contracting the condition. Other risk factors include smoking, pregnancy, puberty, stress, grinding teeth, poor nutrition, diabetes, and poor oral hygiene. When gum disease sets in, it destroys soft tissue, breaks the strong bond between teeth and supporting gums, and can cause jawbone deterioration, as well as tooth loss. About 80% of the population has some form of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, periodontitis (advanced), and gingivitis (mild).
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an infection of the gums and bone that support teeth, and it usually starts early in life, then progresses as a person ages. It all starts when plaque hardens into tartar (also called calculus) below the gum line. This irritates vulnerable soft tissues and infection can set in. Combined with decaying food particles lodged between teeth and bacteria emitted by plaque, the infection can spread quickly. Symptoms are so mild in the early phase, many patients don't recognize them: red, tender, swollen gums, bleeding when brushing teeth. As the condition progresses, gums recede from teeth and pockets of bacteria form. The bacteria can destroy gum tissue and bone, causing tooth and bone loss.
Why is Gum Disease so Serious?
Recent research reveals that gum disease is linked to increased risk for major overall health problems, including but not limited to stroke, heart disease, respiratory problems, osteoporosis, diabetes complications, low birth weight, and most recently, dementia. Because of these findings, research continues. We may learn much more in the next few years.
Gum disease linked to overall health problems. Everything that enters or is present in the mouth has access to the whole body. The mouth is like a portal to the body. That's why regular checkups and hygiene visits are vital to not only oral health, but also overall health.
Is Gum Disease Curable?
Unfortunately, gum disease is not curable. However, we can detect early warning signs of gum disease at your regular dental checkups. At this stage, prevention might be as simple as changing your brushing technique, improving your flossing routine, or changing the products you use for oral care at home.
Once gum disease sets in, we can often treat it with non-surgical therapy including:
- Scaling – to remove hardened plaque from below the gum line
- Root Planing – to reduce rough areas on teeth roots
- Antibiotic Therapy – to battle infection
- Laser Treatment – to remove bacteria and promote gum reattachment
- Surgery – advanced cases may require the care of a periodontist, in which case we will refer you to a trusted colleague
Expect to attend more frequent hygiene visits so our hygienists and dentists can monitor your condition and make sure that recovery is on track.
What is Laser Treatment for Gum Disease?
Combined with comprehensive periodontal therapy, a diode laser for soft tissue procedures can remove and reduce some periodontal infection. This type of treatment also promotes reattachment of gum tissue to teeth. Laser dentistry is precise and conservative in comparison to traditional therapies. Some patients do not even need anesthesia during laser therapy.
We invite you to call Commencement Bay Dentistry of Tacoma, WA today to schedule your appointment with Dr. Miller. Our convenient location is accessible to patients from Tacoma and the surrounding areas. We look forward to learning how we can make you smile!