You brush your teeth and take care to floss between them every single day. These steps are crucial to maintaining your oral health. However, these habits alone are not enough to prevent periodontal disease (gum disease). With periodontal disease, your oral health, and even your overall health, is at risk. What starts out as red, inflamed gums that occasionally bleed when you brush and floss quickly becomes worse. Your swollen gum tissue pulls away from your teeth, creating pockets. Bacteria fall into these pockets and attack your jawbone and periodontal ligaments (which hold your teeth securely in place). Your gums recede, and your teeth become loose. Infection can even enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body. At National Dental Douglaston, we offer several periodontal services to treat and prevent periodontal disease.
REGULAR, PROFESSIONAL CLEANINGS
At National Dental, we recommend professional cleanings once every six months, to prevent serious oral health conditions, including tooth decay and gum disease. While brushing and flossing at home can go a long way in preventing these issues, professional cleanings are essential. During these cleanings, we remove plaque, tartar (hardened plaque that cannot be removed with a toothbrush) and bacterial buildup from all surfaces of your teeth, including those that you might not be able to reach home. We can also spot early warning signs of gum disease and take action to reverse it before it gets worse.
DEEPER CLEANINGS WITH SCALING AND ROOT PLANING
If gum disease has progressed beyond gingivitis, a deeper cleaning is required. In this case, we may recommend scaling and root planing. For scaling, we use a specialized scaling tool to remove plaque, tartar and bacterial buildup from the surfaces of your teeth, between them and just below the gum line. Root planing involves smoothing the surfaces of the roots of your teeth, which prevents new bacteria from adhering. A microbial agent is administered below the gums to kill any lingering bacteria, and your gums can begin to heal.
The laser has become a popular dental tool for many treatments. It is invaluable for periodontal treatment. The laser is often used for scaling and root planing, to remove infected gum tissue and provide better access to your teeth for proper cleaning. In the past, this was performed with a scalpel, which led to bleeding as well as pain and swelling after treatment. With a laser, bleeding is minimized because the light beam cauterizes as it cuts. The laser is more accurate and causes less tissue manipulation, which leads to less pain and swelling, as well as faster healing.
REDUCING POCKET DEPTH
Pocket reduction surgery is designed to lessen the depth of your periodontal pockets. It requires incisions in your gums, which exposes more surface area of your teeth and their roots. After we clean your teeth, your gums are stitched closed around your teeth so they can begin to heal.
When your gums are inflamed, they pull away from your teeth. As they do, bacteria fall behind them, causing further inflammation. The tissue dies, resulting in receding gums. Eventually, a recession can lead to sensitivity and loss of teeth. A gum graft is a surgical procedure in which we take tissue from elsewhere in your body (usually the roof of your mouth) and stitch it over the areas of recession. As your gums heal, the tissues form together and seal around your teeth.
Serious gum disease can lead to bone loss. As your bone weakens, your teeth can begin to loosen and fall out. Adjacent teeth begin to shift out of their natural position, throwing off your bite. Implants can replace missing teeth, but without sufficient bone mass, implants are likely to fail. A bone graft takes the bone, or a bone replacement, and places it in the areas of weakness, restoring strength and shape your jawbone. With a stronger jaw, dental implants can be placed.
If you want more information on periodontal care, or wish to schedule a consultation, call National Dental Douglaston today at (718) 557-9882!