Posts for tag: periodontal disease
The leading cause of tooth loss in America, periodontal disease is a vicious condition that can have an enormously detrimental effect on your smile. Fortunately, here at Grove Dental Arts in Gaithersburg, MD, your dentist, Dr. Steven L. Rattner, offers a wide range of dental services, including periodontal therapy, to help preserve your oral health.
More about Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is an advanced form of gum disease, a condition that begins by displaying symptoms such as:
- Red, swollen, puffy gums
- Loss of normal gum contours
- Bleeding when you brush and floss
- Pain when you chew or bite
If you notice these symptoms, you need to begin a diligent program of oral hygiene, including brushing at least twice a day and flossing once daily. You also need to visit your dentist and dental hygienist for a dental examination and professional dental cleaning. If you are quick acting, gum disease can be reversed to help prevent periodontal disease.
Unfortunately, if left untreated at this early stage, periodontal disease cannot be reversed—it can only be managed. Untreated periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss, so you need to seek treatment if you experience:
- Receding gums, with increasingly exposed tooth roots
- Tooth and root sensitivity due to root exposure
- A sour taste in your mouth and chronic bad breath
- Teeth that feel loose and a bite that feels different
- New spaces or gaps appearing between your teeth
Concerned? Give us a call
If you notice any of the signs and symptoms of gum or periodontal disease, it’s vital to seek out treatment from your dentist, Dr. Steven Rattner. Dial (301) 987-5527 today to set up an appointment at Grove Dental Arts in Gaithersburg, MD.
There are a variety of methods for treating periodontal (gum) disease depending on its severity — from routine office cleanings to periodontal surgery. But the goal behind all of them remains the same: remove bacterial plaque and calculus (tartar), the root cause for gum disease, from all tooth and gum surfaces.
The traditional method for doing this is called scaling in which we use special hand instruments (scalers) to mechanically remove plaque and calculus. Scaling and a similar procedure called root planing (the root surfaces are “planed” smooth of plaque to aid tissue reattachment) require quite a bit of skill and experience. They're also time-consuming: full treatment can take several sessions, depending on how extensive the infection has spread.
In recent years, we've also seen a new method emerge for removing plaque: lasers. Commonly used in other aspects of healthcare, lasers utilize a focused beam of light to destroy and remove diseased or unhealthy tissue while, according to studies and firsthand accounts, minimizing healthy tissue destruction to a better degree than traditional techniques. Procedure and healing times are likewise reduced.
Because of these beneficial characteristics, we are seeing their use in gum disease treatment, especially for removing diseased and inflamed tissues below the gum line and decreasing sub-gingival (“below the gums”) bacteria.
Dentists who have used lasers in this way do report less tissue damage, bleeding and post-treatment discomfort than traditional treatments. But because research is just beginning, there's not enough evidence to say laser treatment is preferably better than conventional treatment for gum disease.
At this point, lasers can be an effective addition to conventional gum disease treatment for certain people, especially those in the early stages of the disease. As we continue to study this technology, though, the day may come when lasers are the preferred way to stop gum disease from ruining your dental health.
If you would like more information on treating gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Lasers Versus Traditional Cleanings for Treating Gum Disease.”