Periodontal and Gum Disease Treatment in White Marsh, Perry Hall and Hanover, MD Gum disease, more commonly known as gingivitis and periodontitis, is the cause of a silent epidemic in the United States. Approximately half of adults over the age of 30 have some type of periodontitis, and that number only increases the older you get! Periodontitis can cause a multitude of problems for the teeth, bone, and gum issues if left untreated, which is why it’s so important to have regular check-up and cleaning appointments to pinpoint the disease early and treat it before it begins to cause irreversible damage. If you are in the White Marsh, MD and Perry Hall, MD and Hanover, MD area, the team at Dental Designs of Maryland has extensive knowledge and experience in diagnosing and treating periodontitis and gum disease. We also have a board certified periodontal specialist, Dr. Joshua Metzger, so we are equipped to handle all levels and severity of periodontitis without having to refer you elsewhere.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontitis, known also as gum disease, is caused by a long term and excess buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth. Over time, this plaque accumulates and the gums begin to become inflamed and swollen. This is an early stage disease called gingivitis and is easily remedied by improving home care and instituting frequent brushing and flossing. When gingivitis is left untreated, the condition will become worse and transition to periodontitis. When we reach this point we may see a loss of gum and bone level that is oftentimes irreversible, as well as loosening of the teeth which further creates more space for bacteria to gather. Periodontitis that is uncontrolled will eventually lead to tooth loss and the need for comprehensive and advanced level treatment.
Treatment for Periodontal Disease
The treatment for gum disease is multifactorial and needs to be tailored to the unique situation of each patient. Some of these factors affecting our treatment include overall health history, the level of periodontal disease present, and the motivation and ability for the patient to maintain continued treatment and home care efforts. The primary types of treatment to manage periodontal disease include more frequent dental cleanings, deep cleanings called scaling and root planing, and periodontal surgery.
- Dental Cleanings Early stage gingivitis can be treated as simply as setting up a frequent interval for your dental cleanings. This can be 6mos for patients that haven’t visited a dentist in a long time, or for those with home care issues, a more frequent interval until the gums recover. These cleanings remove the plaque buildup and leave the teeth and gums clean, and our hygienists will also council you on the best way to take care of your teeth at home, as well as recommending any specific tools like Waterpik, specialized floss, etc. that is tailored to your needs.
- Deep Cleaning (Scaling And Root Planing) Treatment If we have reached a point where the gingivitis has progressed into periodontitis, and your dentist is noticing bone loss, significant loss of gum attachment, or bleeding, we will recommend a specialized deep cleaning known as scaling and root planing. Scaling is a process that removes the disease from the teeth and roots down in the pockets of the gum where periodontitis does the most damage. Root planing is the second part of the process that involves smoothing the surfaces of the tooth so that your gums can reattach to these surfaces. We also often prescribe a round of prescription strength mouthwash or antibiotics to further combat the infection and help encourage healing. Depending on the location and severity of the periodontal disease, scaling and root planing may be done in one or multiple appointments.
- Periodontal Surgery If the initial set of treatments like scaling and root planing does not bring us the results we need, or if the gum disease has advanced to a severe degree, surgery may be needed. Doing surgery allows our periodontal specialist Dr. Joshua Metzger to access otherwise impossible to reach areas under the gum and between the teeth to thoroughly remove any plaque and infection. The gum is then attached back into place around the teeth and allowed to reattach and heal to the tooth. This periodontal surgery can be extremely effective at restoring healthy bone and gum levels and prevent further damage done by periodontal disease.
Maintaining Your Healthy Mouth After Periodontal Treatment
As important as the treatment is, without proper home care and maintenance you will find periodontal disease coming back. After initial periodontal treatment we will recommend a maintenance recall that can be anywhere from once every 3 months to 6 months. During these recalls you will receive a cleaning that is more intensive than a standard professional cleaning, which will lower the amount of plaque in your mouth at and below the level of the gum. This limits the level of inflammation in your gums and ensures that oral health is maintained. Regular periodontal maintenance will help keep the teeth and gums healthy for long term oral health. An important aspect of periodontitis is that it will not heal itself, nor will it cause pain or noticeable effects until it is severe. Once an individual receives periodontal treatment, the condition can always return if not properly maintained. This is why frequent visits to the dentist for cleanings and periodontal maintenance is so important. Home care also includes the foundations such as brushing twice a day, flossing the teeth every day as well using certain other tools like dental irrigators or specialized mouth rinses. At Dental Designs of Maryland, we can help restore periodontal health after gum disease with our multitude of periodontal treatment options as well as the expertise of Dr. Joshua Metzger, our board certified periodontist. If you are in White Marsh, MD, Perry Hall MD, or Hanover, MD call us today by using the Call Us button in the menu above. We look forward to seeing you!