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As a dental professional, we know how important it is to have healthy gums to maintain good oral health. Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a common bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. The American Dental Association estimates that nearly half of all adults in the United States have some form of periodontal disease. While this condition can range from mild to severe, early diagnosis and treatment are essential to prevent further gum recession and tooth loss. In this article, we will discuss the different types of gum disease and the treatment options available at URBN Dental.
Types of Gum Disease
Gum disease is a progressive condition that can start with mild symptoms and worsen over time. The earliest stage is called gingivitis, which causes red or swollen gums that bleed when brushing or flossing. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, which is a more severe form of gum disease. At this stage, the gums may recede, exposing the roots of the teeth, and the bone surrounding the teeth can be lost. As a result, teeth may become loose and eventually fall out. Risk factors for gum disease include poor oral hygiene, smoking, diabetes, hormonal changes, certain medications, and a family history of the disease.
Diagnosing Gum Disease
At URBN Dental, we use a combination of techniques to diagnose periodontitis. This includes a thorough examination of your teeth and gums, as well as X-rays to assess the extent of any bone loss. We may also measure the depth of the pockets between your teeth and gums. Pockets that are deeper than 3 millimeters can be an indicator of gum disease. Additionally, we will ask about your medical history and any symptoms you may be experiencing, such as sensitive teeth or bad breath.
Gum Disease Treatment Options
The first line of defense against gum disease is good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and using an antiseptic mouth rinse. Professional cleaning by a dental hygienist is also recommended every six months to remove plaque and tartar buildup that cannot be removed with brushing and flossing alone. For mild cases of gum disease, deep cleaning, also known as scaling and root planing, may be recommended. This procedure involves cleaning the teeth and roots surfaces to remove bacteria and plaque buildup. Scaling and root planing may require local anesthetic to ensure your comfort during the procedure.
For more severe cases of gum disease, surgical treatments may be necessary. Flap surgery is a common surgical procedure that involves lifting the gum tissue to clean the roots of the teeth thoroughly. This can help reduce pocket depth and prevent further gum recession. Soft tissue grafts may also be used to replace lost gum tissue, preventing further gum recession and improving the appearance of your smile. In some cases, bone grafts may be necessary to promote bone growth and support teeth that have been affected by gum disease. We use both synthetic and donated bone to promote healthy bone growth.
Guided Tissue Regeneration
Another surgical treatment option we offer at URBN Dental is guided tissue regeneration. This procedure involves using tissue-stimulating proteins or a membrane to encourage the growth of bone and connective tissue around the tooth. This helps to rebuild the bone supporting the tooth and prevent further gum recession.
Maintaining Periodontal Health
After treatment for gum disease, it is essential to maintain good oral hygiene to prevent further damage. This includes regular brushing and flossing, professional cleaning every six months, and using an antiseptic mouth rinse. We may also recommend oral antibiotics or fluoride toothpaste to fight infection and strengthen your teeth. Additionally, it is important to have a healthy diet and avoid habits that can worsen gum disease, such as smoking.
Dental Insurance for Gum Disease Treatment
Many dental insurance plans cover gum disease treatment, including scaling and root planing, flap surgery, and soft tissue grafts. However, it is important to check with your insurance provider to confirm what procedures are covered and what your out-of-pocket expenses may be.
Preventing Gum Disease
The best way to prevent gum disease is to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time, using fluoride toothpaste, and flossing daily. It is also important to have regular dental checkups and cleanings to remove plaque and tartar buildup that can lead to gum disease. Additionally, avoiding smoking and maintaining a healthy diet can also help prevent gum disease.
Importance of Medical History in Gum Disease Treatment
When diagnosing and treating gum disease, it is important to consider a patient’s medical history. Certain conditions, such as diabetes, can increase the risk of gum disease and complicate treatment. Medications, such as blood thinners or antidepressants, can also affect gum health. Additionally, some medical conditions can increase the risk of developing gum disease or affect the success of treatment, such as HIV or cancer. Therefore, it is important to inform your dentist or dental hygienist about any medical conditions or medications you are taking.
Patients who have undergone radiation therapy in the head or neck area may also be at an increased risk of developing gum disease. Radiation can cause damage to the salivary glands, leading to dry mouth, which can increase the risk of bacterial growth and gum disease. Therefore, these patients may need more frequent dental checkups and cleanings to prevent gum disease.
Contact URBN Dental for Gum Disease Treatment
At URBN Dental, we understand the importance of maintaining healthy gums to support overall dental health. If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease, such as red or swollen gums, bleeding gums, or tooth sensitivity, we recommend scheduling an appointment with one of our experienced dental professionals. We offer a range of gentle and effective gum disease treatments to help restore your periodontal health and prevent further damage. With proper treatment and maintenance, we can help you maintain healthy gums and keep your teeth healthy for years to come.