Gum Disease Treatments

Gum Disease is Serious But Treatments Are Available

Gum Disease Treatments

If you have been diagnosed with gum disease, you are likely wondering what it is, how it is caused, and what treatments are available. First you should know you are not alone. Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, affects almost three quarters of all Americans at some stage in their life. The disease is caused by bacteria from plaque and tartar that has built up on your teeth over time. While periodontal disease is most often related to poor brushing and flossing habits, it can also be linked to tobacco use, grinding and clenching teeth, genetics, and taking certain medications. It can also result from lack of regular professional dental care to remove the plaque and tartar that your toothbrush at home is not designed for.

When giving you the diagnosis, your dentist may refer to your gum disease as either gingivitis, which is the beginning stage of gum disease, or periodontal disease, which is the next stage of gum disease. Periodontal disease is the more serious condition as more damage has been done at this more advanced stage. Untreated, periodontal disease can result in inflammation, tooth loss, and bone loss. If you h

ave red, bleeding, or swollen gums, bad breath, increased tooth mobility, tooth loss, or abscesses, you might be suffering from periodontal disease and should see your dentist.

Treatments for Periodontal Disease

Both gingivitis and periodontal disease can be successfully treated. Gingivitis is the mild stage of gum disease and can be treated at home after learning and adopting a few regular habits. Your dentist will explain brushing and flossing. An electric toothbrush is more effective at cleaning and a good investment in your gum health. Daily flossing and a mild, non-alcoholic mouthwash may become part of your regular routine.

In addition to addressing home care and other causes of your periodontal disease, such as cigarette smoking, there are both surgical and nonsurgical treatments available for periodontal disease. These treatments aim to help restore the health of tissues, and minimize or prevent tooth loss.

Identifying gum disease

Gum Disease Treatments

What happens when you have gum disease? If your gum tissue is healthy, it will fit tightly to each tooth. With gum disease, the gum tissue, inflamed due to bacteria around the gum line, has begun to separate from the tooth. Bacterial plaque builds up under the gum line, causing deeper pockets to form around the teeth. If the pockets between your gum and your tooth reaches 4mm or more, your periodontal disease is reaching a stage where it can cause tooth loss or other problems. In this case, as a first treatment to clean up the bacterial plaque buildup, your dentist is likely to recommend a procedure called scaling and root planing.

The Scaling and Planing Process

Gum Disease Treatments

Scaling and root planing are usually done together, in a two-step process to rid your teeth of dental plaque (yellow, softer debris that builds up) and calculus (harder and white), both of which harbor harmful bacteria and cause inflammation of your gums.

The scaling and root planing procedure is done by the dental hygienist, but it usually takes longer than a regular cleaning. The process may require more than one visit, depending on the sensitivity of your gums and the extent of your periodontal disease. Your hygienist may apply a topical local anesthetic to your gums to ease discomfort.

Scaling involves removing the bacteria and tartar deposits from the teeth just below the gum line. The hygienist uses a hand held dental scaler to scrape plaque from your teeth. He or she may also use ultrasonic instruments that vibrate and spray water for a deep clean.

Root planing is the next step, helping to smooth the rough areas of the root’s surface. When your root surfaces are smooth, this will prevent plaque, bacteria, and tartar from adhering underneath the gum line. This procedure gives your gums time to heal and then reattach themselves to the teeth, closing up the pockets so they don’t get infected again.

The scaling and root planing process is described in this video.

Your dentist may schedule a follow up visit for you where they will check to see how your gums are healing, and see if the pockets are shrinking. In most cases, gums that were red and swollen will turn back to pink, bleeding will be eliminated, and the tissue will become firm again. If the gum tissue responds well to the procedure, you may not need to have another treatment. If your condition is more advanced, further treatment may be required.

Treatments for Advanced Periodontal Disease

Gum Disease Treatments

Scaling and root planing may be needed for all stages of periodontal disease. However, for more advanced cases, where gum disease has resulted in tooth or bone loss or in an unattractive smile due to excess displaced gum tissue, there are additional procedures that you and your dentist may discuss. Depending on your situation and the extent of the damage, your dentist may recommend one of the following:

  • Gum Grafting – If you have lost gum tissue, and the roots of your teeth are not protected, you may need to have healthy gum tissue taken from one section of the mouth and moved to the area where the loss has occurred.
  • Periodontal Surgery – Periodontal surgery is a plastic surgery procedure that reshapes the gum tissues.
  • Laser Treatment – Periodontal laser treatment works by removing the affected tissue with lasers. This procedure is often used to treat gum tissue without shrinking it or causing discomfort.
  • Crown Lengthening Surgery – This type of surgery involves exposing areas that were covered by your gums and bone tissue. This can be done to affix a crown, or to make the teeth appear longer if you are suffering from gum disease.
  • Dental Implants – If you have tooth loss as a result of your gum disease, your dentist may recommend an implant in which a post is placed into the jawbone and attached to a realistic looking crow. It will look and perform like your natural tooth, helping you to maintain healthy gums and bone in the area where the tooth was lost.

Contact Balle & Associates for your Periodontal Disease Screening

Are you suffering from bad breath, red, swollen or bleeding gums? Or perhaps you just want to learn more about preventing gum disease from occurring? At Balle & Associates in Las Vegas, our experienced staff can help you maintain a healthy mouth and provide you with information on how to prevent and treat gum disease. Contact us now to see how we can help you keep or restore your bright teeth and healthy gums.

Caring for Yourself after Dental Surgery

Caring for Yourself after Dental Surgery

If you’re planning or have just completed a restorative or cosmetic dental procedure, whether it is dental implants, tooth restoration or a new bridge or dentures, you’ll want to take care to follow your dentist’s post-operative care instructions. Following the advice given to you will help you feel better faster. Follow some simple aftercare guidelines to shorten your recovery period, reduce your pain and help you avoid complications after surgery.

Follow Your Dentist’s Post-Operative Care Guidelines

Before you have your dental procedure, take your time to find a skilled, experienced cosmetic dentist or oral surgeon who can best provide the right solution and perform your surgery with good results, so you can enjoy better oral health and a brighter smile with the least hassle and worry. With your comfort and oral health in mind, a good dental surgeon will continue to take care of you even after your dental procedure is complete.

It’s important to follow the post-operative care instructions recommended for your particular procedure. While each operation may require unique aftercare, there are certain general guidelines pertaining to diet, medication and other activities that are wise to follow after any dental surgery.

Rinse your Mouth

In many cases, rinsing with salt water or a prescribed solution in the days following your procedure can help reduce soreness. You can make a simple salt solution using ½ teaspoon of salt and 6 oz. of warm (not hot!) water to use a few times per day, particularly after a meal. Your dentist may recommend a brand of alcohol-free mouthwash or provide a mouth rinse for you to use.

You may experience mild bleeding after surgery. Mild bleeding at the site usually stops within 24 hours and can be treated with moist gauze or by biting down on a wet black tea bag which contains tannin, known to aid clotting and help reduce bleeding. If the bleeding persists, give your dentist a call.

Apply Ice

You also can minimize the appearance of swelling and/or bruising after oral surgery by applying an ice pack wrapped in a towel to the outside of the face. During the first 12 to 24 hours, apply the pack on a cycle of 20 minutes on followed by 20 minutes off. Mild bruising is a normal occurrence after surgery, such as with an implant-supported bridge, but applying moist heat to the bruise area will help promote blood flow, causing the discoloration to dissipate faster.


Caring for Yourself after Dental Surgery

Any kind of surgery puts added stress on your body, and dental surgery is no exception. After the procedure, take it easy and give yourself at least 24 hours to replenish your energy. Plan to take time off from work or school. Don’t skimp on sleep before or after your surgery. Relax and avoid strenuous activities or those that require concentration. Keep your head elevated when sleeping for the first few nights to help reduce any swelling.

Avoid Tobacco and Alcohol

Tobacco and alcohol use in the days after surgery can delay the healing process in your mouth. Ask your doctor for help if you have trouble avoiding these products in the days following your procedure. Your doctor can also help you if want to stop smoking or drinking permanently, which will benefit your oral and overall health for the long term.

Medicate if Necessary

In some cases, depending on the type of dental procedure, you will be prescribed pain medication, medicated mouthwash, or other drugs that should be taken as directed. In other cases, you may simply want to control pain after the anesthetic wears off, in which case a mild analgesic can do the trick.

If you want a stronger painkiller, talk to your dentist or oral surgeon about a prescription. If you are taking strong narcotics, remember it can impair your mental alertness and impede your ability to operate a car or use machinery, so read the label carefully and don’t exceed the recommended dose. Unless instructed otherwise, you can stop your pain medication as soon as you feel better.

Eat a Soft Diet

Caring for Yourself after Dental Surgery

After certain procedures, you will want to be careful about what you eat, although that doesn’t mean you should avoid eating altogether. You need to consume proper nutrition and drinking plenty of fluids to help aid recovery.

For a few weeks following oral surgery, getting dental implants, temporary restorations, or a tooth extraction, you should avoid hard and/or sticky foods and substances that require lots of chewing before swallowing. Also try chewing on the opposite side of your mouth from the surgical site. Some nutritious but easily swallowed foods to use in the first few days or until healed include broths and soups; ice cream, custards or yogurt; rice and pasta; chopped or ground meat; eggs; malted milk or shakes, especially those with added nutrients; and baby food (or anything mashed enough to be eaten by an infant). Eating soft foods will help prevent food particles from contaminating or injuring a still-healing surgical site.

Keep Brushing Your Teeth

In most cases, you should continue to brush and floss as usual, since food debris will only invite more bacteria and soreness. Avoid the areas with open wounds and be gentler until your mouth has healed. When flossing around restorations or implants, gently push the floss to the gum, but remove by pulling from the side, rather than yanking back down between the teeth. Use a gentle mouthwash that does not contain alcohol which will irritate the sensitive tissue. You also should keep your dentures or partial dentures thoroughly cleaned.

If You Have Questions or Problems Call Your Dentist

It’s normal to experience slight swelling, pain or light bleeding after dental surgery. If you have severe bleeding, call your dentist right away. Swelling of your face or jaw, such as with wisdom tooth removal, may last up to a week. For persistent pain, your dentist or doctor can advise proper pain medication.

Download Post-Operative Care Instructions for your Dental Surgery

In general, remember to take it easy the day of your dental procedure. Most importantly, follow the post-operative instructions recommended by your oral healthcare provider for your dental procedure. Here’s a link to post-operative instructions for a variety of dental procedures that we offer to our dental surgery patients at Balle & Associates:

Balle & Associates post-operative care instructions

Balle & Associates Dental Surgeons

Balle & Associates, a cosmetic and general dentistry practice in Las Vegas, Nevada, takes care to inform patients what they should expect before, during and after a dental surgery procedure. To find out more or to schedule a consultation, contact us or call (702) 825-7468.