Gum Disease Therapy
Protecting Your Gums and More
Cavities are the most common dental problem, but gum disease is also an issue that afflicts millions of people. In fact, roughly 50% of adults in the United States have a form of gum disease! The statistics are even more staggering in other places around the globe. This serious condition begins subtly, exhibiting only minor symptoms at first. As it develops, however, it can lead to severe consequences, including tooth loss and bone deterioration.
That is why Dr. Scott Quandt and our team will always keep an eye on your gums during your regular checkups. If you show any signs of the disease, we’ll be able to quickly and effectively treat it using the range of treatments we’ve outlined toward the bottom of this page.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, otherwise known as periodontal disease, occurs when bacteria sneak beneath the gum line and lead to infection.
There are two types of gum disease:
- Gingivitis is the first stage. This is a relatively mild condition, and it does not cause any permanent harm to the gum tissue, jawbone, or teeth.
- Periodontitis is the advanced form of gum disease. If gingivitis is left untreated for too long, it turns into periodontitis, which is characterized by gum recession and permanent damage to the gums and the bone that supports the teeth.
Not only can gum disease affect your oral health, but it can also lead to systemic issues, such as cardiovascular disease, dementia, preterm birth, and more.
Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease
If you have gingivitis, your symptoms may not be obvious. However, if you notice that your gums are swollen, red, or tender, you should schedule a checkup with your dentist. Gums that bleed easily when you floss or brush are also a warning sign of the first stage of periodontal disease.
The signs and symptoms of periodontitis are easier to spot. They include:
- Gum recession
- Loose teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- Painful chewing
- Pus between the teeth and gums
- A change in the way the teeth fit together.
Risk Factors for Gum Disease
Everyone is susceptible to gum disease in Green Bay. However, some groups are more likely to develop it than others. All of the following factors can contribute to gingivitis and periodontitis:
- Poor oral hygiene habits. Individuals who do not thoroughly brush and floss give bacteria a golden opportunity to infect the gums.
- Uncontrolled diabetes can slow the flow of nutrients to the gums and weaken their resistance to infection.
- Some individuals are genetically predisposed to gum problems.
- Tobacco use. Cigarettes and chewing tobacco make the gums more vulnerable to infection. Once the gums have been damaged, tobacco can lessen their ability to heal.
- Individuals over 30 years of age are more likely to develop gum disease.
Preventing Gum Disease
While you may not be able to control your age or genetics, there are things you can do to protect yourself from gum disease. You should:
- Keep your mouth clean. Thoroughly brush your teeth twice a day, and floss once a day.
- Do not use tobacco. It may be challenging to stop smoking, but the rewards for your oral health and overall health are worth it!
- Stick to healthy daily habits. A balanced diet and an adequate amount of exercise can prevent and/or manage diabetes.
It’s also vital that you visit your dentist in Green Bay for routine checkups. They’ll help you keep a clean mouth and alert you when the first signs of gum disease appear. In some cases, a few easy changes to your oral hygiene routine can reverse your condition. At other times, you may need a procedure known as scaling and root planing, which is essentially a deep cleaning of the mouth. During the treatment, Dr. Quandt removes bacteria above and below the gum line. Then, he smooths out the roots of the teeth so it is more difficult for bacteria to cling to them.
If scaling and root planing is not an adequate treatment for your gum disease, you may benefit from one of the following procedures.
Chao Pinhole Surgical Technique
One of the most common symptoms of gum disease is actually gum recession. As bacteria gathers on and along the gum line, it can literally start to break the tissue down, gradually revealing more of your teeth. This not only can negatively affect the appearance of your teeth, making them look abnormally long, but it can also make them much more likely to decay and fall out.
This is because gum recession exposes the sensitive enamel around the roots of your teeth, which is actually much thinner and weaker than it is on the crown. This allows plaque and bacteria to gather directly on them, as well as break down the actual bone that is supporting your tooth. In the end, this causes them to become loose, unstable, and they’ll eventually just fall out.
To counteract this kind of problem, the most common solution has typically been a surgical procedure called a gum graft. For this, your doctor would use donated tissue to replace the receded tissue in order to restore your smile’s health and appearance. Most of the time, the donated tissue would be “harvested” from a patient’s own mouth, most likely from the roof, and it would then be sutured into place along the gum line.
This procedure is often very uncomfortable for a patient because it requires multiple incisions and sutures in very sensitive areas. After the donated tissue has been placed, a patient would have to be extremely careful whenever they ate or brushed their teeth as to not disturb the healing process.
Fortunately, at Dental Designs by Quandt, we have a much simpler and patient-friendly approach to this issue, and it’s called the Chao Pinhole Surgical Technique.
Dental lasers were first introduced into dentistry around 1994, and today, they are one of the most useful tools we have. Using dental lasers, we can now perform sensitive gum disease treatments faster and more painlessly than ever. Previously, treating gum disease would typically involve something called a deep cleaning, in which your doctor would literally scrape away the bacteria from around and below your gum line. As you can imagine, this could be very uncomfortable for patients.
However, with our dental laser’s highly-concentrated beam of light, we can almost instantly vaporize harmful bacteria on the gum line in a matter of seconds. Not only can it completely eliminate the infection, but the light itself is so precise that it will leave the surrounding healthy tissue alone, which will help minimize any post-treatment discomfort and speed up recovery. It is even able to cauterize nerve endings and blood vessels as it works, which is why we often don’t need to use local anesthesia, and patients experience little to no bleeding.
Another part of our strategy to eliminate gum disease involves a topical antibiotic. For this, Dr. Quandt will use a syringe to gently spread a powerful antibiotic directly onto your infected gums. Once there, it will harden and slowly dissolve over the next 7 days. This allows the medicine to seep deep down into your gums and reach even the most hidden bacteria. This, along with your oral hygiene routine at home, should be plenty to get your gum disease under control.