How Does Periodontal Disease Progress?When periodontal disease first strikes, it is almost completely unnoticeable. It is caused by a buildup of plaque (a sticky substance that accumulates on your teeth) and oral bacteria. This buildup can irritate your gum tissue, leading to inflammation. Your gums become red and swollen and may bleed when you brush and floss. This early stage of periodontal disease is known as gingivitis, and if often mistaken for brushing too hard. As a result, the condition continues to progress. Your swollen gums pull away from your teeth, creating pockets. Bacteria fall into these pockets and begin to attack your periodontal ligaments and jawbone (along with your gums). Advanced stages of periodontal disease can lead to gum recession, loose teeth, and missing teeth. Your overall health may be put at risk as well, as bacteria can enter your bloodstream.
Scaling and Root PlaningScaling and root planing is a “deep cleaning” of your teeth. Not only are the surfaces of your teeth cleaned, but this procedure focuses on clearing away buildup from the teeth around the gum line, as well as along the root. Scaling is the process in which plaque, tartar (hardened plaque), bacteria and other debris are removed from around the gum line. Root planing involves the use of thin, specialized instruments to smooth the roots of your teeth. An antibacterial wash is delivered below the gum line as well, which helps to kill any lingering bacteria, allowing your gums to begin to heal.
Laser DentistrySometimes, swollen gum tissue can interfere with a proper scaling and root planing. If we cannot thoroughly clean your teeth, your gums cannot heal properly. To thoroughly clean your teeth, the infected tissue needs to be removed. In the past, this tissue was removed with a scalpel. Today, laser dentistry is used to accomplish this goal. The laser tool uses a thin, high-intensity beam of light. The light cauterizes your tissue as it cuts, greatly reducing the amount of bleeding you may experience during your procedure. The laser also minimizes tissue trauma, which helps to reduce the amount of pain and swelling you may experience following treatment.
Pocket Reduction SurgeryIf your periodontal pockets are too deep, our tools cannot effectively clean your teeth. With pocket reduction surgery, we make incisions in your gum tissue to expose the roots of your teeth and clean them. We then stitch your gums back up snugly against your teeth, and your gums can begin to heal.
Bone GraftingMore advanced stages of periodontal disease can lead to gum recession and bone loss. Gum recession not only makes your teeth appear longer, but it also causes tooth sensitivity. A gum graft is a surgical procedure designed to restore a more natural, healthy gum line. We take tissue from elsewhere in your mouth (usually from the roof of your mouth) and suture it in place over the areas of recession. As you heal, the tissue reforms a tight seal around your teeth.
Bone loss weakens your jawbone, which leads to loose teeth and tooth loss. A bone graft can restore the strength to your weakened jaw. It is often used before placing Dental Implants, helping to ensure their success.
If you suspect you have periodontal disease, do not hesitate. Call Oak Park Dental at (971) 600-0211 to schedule your appointment right away.