What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease?
What is a periodontist?
Periodontists are qualified dentists who have an additional three years of education and specialized training in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of gum disease. They also perform dental implant surgery and cosmetic periodontal procedures. Your periodontist will work closely with your dentist to manage your oral health.
What are some warning signs?
Gum disease is considered a "silent" disease because pain does not always accompany warning signs. See your dentist if you experience:
Changes to your Teeth, Bite or Dental Work
- Loose or separating teeth
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- Bridges or partial dentures that no longer fit properly
- Fillings that have become defective
Changes to Your Gums
- Recurring redness, puffiness, tenderness or swelling of your gums
- Gums that bleed while brushing teeth, using dental floss or biting into hard foods (like an apple)
- Gums that are pulling away (receding) from your teeth, causing them to look longer
Bad Breath or Odd Taste in Your Mouth
- Persistent bad breath
- Persistent metal taste in your mouth
Sores in Your Mouth
- Pus between your gums and teeth
- A sore or irritation in your mouth that does not improve within two week
How do we treat gum disease?
How your periodontist treats your gum disease is largely dependent upon the stage of your infection and the amount of deterioration involving your gums, teeth, supporting tissues and bone.
After reviewing your Digital X-rays and performing a thorough periodontal exam, your periodontist will discuss your treatment options, answer questions, and explain what happens:
- During and after the procedure(s)
- The number of office visits required for treatment
- What to do post-treatment as your gums heal
- How to keep gum disease under control after treatment is complete
The most well-known type of non-surgical treatment is known as scaling and root planing. This under-the-gum procedure involves a careful removal of plaque and tarter from the tooth roots. During this procedure, your hygienist will remove harmful bacteria and irritants from deep beneath your gums to prevent plaque from accumulating again.
Your periodontist may perform periodontal surgery to eliminate bone infections or to regenerate lost bone. The most common surgical treatments include:
During this procedure, a local anesthetic is applied. The gum tissue is folded back to expose deeper tissues. Irregular surfaces of the damaged bone may need to be smoothed to expose otherwise hidden areas of bacteria. Then, harmful bacteria are removed. Gum tissue is then closed and sutured in place.
During this procedure, a local anesthetic is applied. Gum tissue is folded back to expose deeper tissues. Then disease-causing bacteria are removed. Membranes, bone grafts or tissue-stimulating proteins are used to encourage your body's natural ability to regenerate bone and tissue and reverse some of the damage of gum disease.
Excess gum and bone tissues are then reshaped to expose more of the natural tooth. This can be done to one tooth (to even out the gumline) or to several teeth (to expose your natural, broad smile). Gum tissue is then closed and sutured in place.
Please give us a call at 510-652-2911 to schedule a Periodontal Consultation with Dr. Cangini or with any questions you may have. We are happy to help!