Nearly half of American adults over the age of 30 have some form of periodontal disease – more commonly known as gum disease. This condition often develops silently; you might not even realize you have it until you start experiencing severe symptoms such as pain and tooth loss. To protect your smile as well as your overall health, Dr. Pham can offer periodontal therapy to remove the infection and prevent the damage from worsening. If you think you might be suffering from gum disease, get in touch with Downtown Family Dental of Leesburg to schedule a consultation and treatment – the sooner the better.
As the bacteria in your mouth feed on the sugar and starches you eat, they contribute to the buildup of a biofilm called plaque. While some plaque buildup is natural, it’s important to keep it under control by brushing and flossing every day. If you don’t, the bacteria could eventually infect your gums. At this point, they’ll start attacking the gum and bone tissue keeping your teeth in place. Unfortunately, a severe gum infection will not get better if it’s left alone; it needs to be treated if you want to protect your teeth.
While the symptoms of gum disease often go undetected at first, there are still a few warning signs you can watch out for. Early gum disease (known as gingivitis) can make your gums red and swollen, and you might even notice some bleeding. Once the condition is more severe, possible symptoms include a persistent bad taste in your mouth, pus between the gums, bad breath, loose or shifting teeth, and gum recession.
Once you’ve reached the advanced stages of gum disease, you could be at risk for losing your teeth altogether. Also, the inflammation from gum disease has been linked to several health problems, including heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, depression, diabetes, respiratory infections, and pregnancy complications. Having your gum disease treated as early as possible could help prevent you from these severe (and in many cases deadly) complications. Call our office if you notice any of the above symptoms of gum disease, and don’t forget to visit us for regular checkups and cleanings; it could make all the difference for your overall health over the long term.
Dr. Pham can thoroughly examine your gums to look for redness, inflammation, or other signs of gum disease. They’ll also be searching for pockets that have formed beneath the gum line; these pockets often point to extensive bone loss, a sign that the disease has become particularly severe. In some cases, we may need to take an X-ray to see if the infection has spread.
Once we’ve diagnosed your gum disease, we can devise an appropriate treatment. Gingivitis can often be addressed with a cleaning and improved home care, but more severe gum disease normally requires more in-depth procedures.
When it comes to treating your gum disease, Dr. Pham will need to fully examine your oral cavity to determine the severity of the problem. The most advanced cases often require complex solutions to reduce inflammation, minimize infection, and improve your oral health.
Using specialized dental instruments, Dr. Pham will first begin by administering a local anesthetic or sedation to ensure you are comfortable throughout the process. She will then begin to remove plaque and tartar accumulations from your teeth and gum line in a process called scaling. When finished, she will move on to the second phase of the procedure known as root planing. This smooths out the tooth root to encourage proper reattachment of the gum tissue and prevent future reinfection.
Using a soft tissue laser, Dr. Pham will reduce the size of your gum pockets by gently and carefully removing infected gum tissue from the root of the tooth. This process not only promotes healing diseased gum pockets, but it also helps to restore healthy tissue around the teeth, preventing future reinfection. As a result of using laser dentistry for periodontitis, there will be a significant decrease in bacteria within the gum pockets.
If your gums are receding, it may be necessary for Dr. Pham to perform a gum graft. Because this common problem exposes the root of your tooth, it can cause your chances of decay and sensitivity to increase. During this process, a piece of tissue will be removed from another area of your mouth and attached to your receding gums. Performed relatively quick, you will receive detailed instructions to follow when you return home.