Gingivitis is the earliest stage of periodontitis, and it’s characterized by tender, bleeding gums. Thankfully, it’s also the easiest stage of periodontitis to treat because your bone integrity hasn’t been compromised. That’s why we always examine your gums and look for any signs of gum inflammation during your routine preventive dental exam at Full Circle Dental Care in Del City, Oklahoma.
But what if we spot the signs of periodontitis? Our team is expert at diagnosing and treating periodontitis. Below, we dive deeper into the specific treatments used to treat gum disease.
What is periodontitis and how is it diagnosed?
Periodontitis, also known as gum disease, is an infection that affects your soft tissues (gums) as well as your jaw bone. Gum disease starts with plaque, which can build up and irritate your gums. This causes your gums to pull away from your teeth and form pockets called periodontal pockets. These pockets collect debris, bacteria, and food, which then exacerbates your symptoms.
Left untreated, advanced periodontitis can lead to permanent tooth loss, bad breath, a changing bite, receding gum line, and bone loss.
Gum disease is diagnosed during a periodontal exam. We use a small dental instrument called a periodontal probe to measure the sulcus. The dental sulcus is the space or pocket that forms between your tooth and your gums. Our team also reviews all of your symptoms, including wiggly teeth, bleeding gums, and tender gums.
How is periodontitis treated?
Periodontitis is common, but it’s treatable. The faster you receive treatment, the faster you can halt the progression of the infection.
Common nonsurgical treatments for periodontitis include:
Scaling is a procedure in which our team removes tartar and bacteria-laden plaque from your teeth. We also remove plaque and tartar from beneath your gums.
Scaling and root planing are often performed together, and you might even hear it described as a single procedure. These are two different procedures though. Root planing is described as smoothing out the surfaces of your tooth roots. This makes it harder for plaque and tartar to build up. Root planing also allows your gums to heal and reattach to your tooth surfaces.
You may also require topical and/or oral antibiotics to help clear your infection. Topical antibiotics include prescription antibiotic mouthwash and topical gel. Oral antibiotics help eliminate infection-causing bacteria from your system.
For more severe cases of periodontitis, you may benefit from surgical interventions, such as bone grafts, pocket reduction surgery, or tissue regeneration procedures.
Can you prevent periodontitis?
Yes! There are many steps you can take to reduce future occurrences of gingivitis and periodontitis. One of the best things you can do is revisit your at-home oral care routine. Brushing and flossing is the best way to remove plaque from your teeth. To make sure your brushing and flossing routine is most effective, keep these tips in mind:
- Use a soft-bristled brush and brush for a full two minutes twice a day
- Use toothpaste that features the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance
- Floss every day to remove plaque from in between your teeth
- Use mouthwash
If you spot any signs of gum disease or notice any bleeding when you brush your teeth, you don’t need to wait until your next routine cleaning to seek treatment. Early intervention can help you avoid the complications of progressing gum disease.
Questions about gum disease? To schedule an exam, call our office or request an appointment online.