Periodontal (gum) disease affects millions of adults in the US, but many cases go undiagnosed or are misdiagnosed for years before the patient receives the necessary treatment. At Orban Family Dental, we are dedicated to helping our patients keep their smiles whole and healthy through preventive maintenance. When you visit our office every six months for dental checkups, we screen for the early warning signs of periodontal disease and work with you to prevent this oral health issue before it begins. However, if you’re one of the millions of US adults already suffering from gum disease, we can help. Our skilled Coeur d’Alene dentist and team offer a wide range of periodontal therapies to renew oral health for gum disease sufferers and put the smile back on your face. If you want to learn more or schedule your six month dental checkup, call the Orban Family Dental team today. We look forward to hearing from you.
What is Gum Disease?
Periodontal disease, typically referred to as gum disease, is actually the name for a group of oral health issues that affect the supportive gum and alveolar bone tissues that surround the roots of teeth. When plaque and tartar buildup around the gum line, tissue becomes inflamed, and without proper treatment, this inflammation can lead to sores, infection, and the breakdown of tissues that connect the teeth to supportive structures. There are two types of gum disease. Gingivitis is the mild form that is often overlooked by patients, but when caught by a member of our team, it can usually be reversed to fully renew a patient’s oral health. Periodontitis is the more advanced form of gum disease. It is more difficult to treat, and periodontitis can lead to numerous oral health concerns, including tooth loss.
How Will I Know I Have Gum Disease?
In the early stages, you may notice some mild gum bleeding while brushing or flossing teeth, but other warning signs can be subtle and are usually overlooked by the untrained observer. However, during your six month dental checkups, we will screen for these subtle indicators. One way we screen for gum disease during regular office visits is with periodontal charting. We measure and monitor changes in the depths of the pockets between teeth and gums. When these pockets expand, patients may be experiencing gum disease. If you notice any of the following warning signs of more advanced gum disease, please call us right away:
- Bleeding gums
- Swelling, inflammation, or infection in the tissue around teeth
- Teeth that feel loose or a bite that doesn’t seem to fit together
- Teeth that look longer or gums that seem to have shrunken
- Chronic bad breath that doesn’t improve after brushing and flossing teeth
What Periodontal Therapies are Available?
For patients with mild gingivitis, improved at home hygiene coupled with more frequent office visits can usually be effective in treating the condition. For patients with more severe periodontitis, we offer a variety of advanced periodontal therapies, including:
- Scaling – the systematic removal of plaque and tartar buildup and damaged tissues
- Root planing – the smoothing of tooth roots to prevent the future buildup of plaque and tartar
- Antibiotics – bacteria in the mouth produce plaque, so we may provide oral or topical antibiotics to limit the numbers of oral bacteria
How do I Care for My Smile After Periodontal Therapy?
Following advanced periodontal therapy, we will work with you to establish an oral health routine both in our office and at home to maintain your healthy smile. You may need to take a course of oral antibiotics following your treatment. We may also prescribe toothpaste or oral rinse that will boost your oral hygiene routine and help you reduce risk for oral health concerns between your dental appointments. You will likely need to schedule periodontal maintenance appointments with us three or four times each year rather than visiting just twice annually. During these periodontal maintenance visits, we’ll check the pocket depths between teeth and supportive tissues to make sure the gums are not receding. We’ll also thoroughly clean your teeth and gums, and check for any warning signs that your gum disease has spread or worsened.