Advanced gum disease, or periodontitis, is a condition that affects nearly half of all adults over the age of 30. Periodontitis is a group of conditions that, if left untreated, can result in tooth loss. The good news is with the numerous treatments available today for advanced periodontitis, it does not need to result in the loss of teeth.
At Hillock Family Dentistry, we perform these treatments with gentle care, so the experience does not cause you stress or anxiety. It makes a difference! You can trust us to treat you with kindness, care, and a focus on keeping you happy and comfortable.
What is Advanced Periodontitis?
Gum disease begins with gingivitis. This common condition occurs when sufficient plaque is not removed from your teeth, and is characterized by red, swollen gums which bleed when you brush and floss your teeth. At this stage, gum disease is easily reversable using proper brushing and flossing techniques, and by visiting your Modesto dentist to have a professional cleaning.
If left untreated, gingivitis progresses into more serious periodontal disease. Periodontitis is caused by the bacteria that attach themselves to plaque.
As plaque forms on the teeth at the gumline, the bacteria from this plaque can affect not only the gums, but also the bone and connective tissue surrounding the teeth.
In the later stages of periodontitis, the bacteria cause pockets to form between your teeth and the gums. These pockets further the vicious cycle and more bacteria continue to grow inside them. This causes the teeth to become loose and they can ultimately fall out.
What Are the Symptoms of Advanced Periodontitis?
The symptoms of advanced periodontitis are progressive and worsen as the disease takes hold. These include:
- Persistent bad breath
- Red, swollen, bleeding gums
- Receding gums
- Gums that are tender to the touch
- Tooth sensitivity
- Loose teeth
Non-Surgical Treatment of Advanced Periodontitis
The first step in reversing the damage caused by advanced periodontitis is called scaling and root planing. During scaling and root planing a local anesthetic will help you stay comfortable during treatment. It is performed by a dentist or dental hygienist by scraping and removing plaque and tartar from your teeth both above and below the gumline, as well as from the root surfaces.
Depending on the severity of your condition, this may require more than one treatment to fully remove all of the buildup. Your dentist will evaluate your condition and advise you whether further treatment is necessary.
Surgical Treatment of Advanced Periodontitis
If scaling and root planing is not sufficient to achieve a snug fit between the gum and the teeth, further treatment options will be required to restore your dental and periodontal health.
- Pocket Reduction or Flap Surgery. Flap surgery is performed by folding back the tissue of the gums, so the bacteria and infection can be removed. The surface of the tooth is then smoothed, and the gum is returned to encourage the gum to naturally reattach to the tooth.
- Gum Grafting. If you have exposed roots of your teeth, gum tissue may be grafted from other areas of the mouth and placed over the exposed roots of one or more teeth. This helps to stop the progression of periodontitis while protecting the roots of your teeth from decay.
- Bone Grafting. If you have bone loss as a result of your advanced periodontitis, your dentist may choose to use bone grafts to help repair the damage. In this procedure, real or synthetic bone is grafted into the place where bone loss has occurred along with proteins that will stimulate your body to produce more bone tissue and repair the damage.
How can I Prevent Advanced Periodontitis?
The best way to prevent dental disease of any kind is with twice daily brushing and flossing. Regularly scheduled visits with our friendly team at Hillock Family Dentistry to have professional cleanings will go a long way in preventing advanced periodontitis.