Studies show that 64.7 million American adults currently suffer from severe gum disease. This is a high number for a disease that can be both prevented and treated. Mild to moderate gum disease is referred to as gingivitis. Signs of gingivitis include red, tender, and swollen gums that may bleed during brushing and flossing. If detected and treated at this stage, the results are much more successful and easier to achieve. If not diagnosed at an opportune time, the case can progress into periodontitis, or severe gum disease. At this stage, the gums recede, pockets form, and the teeth can become loose. Periodontist, Dr. Afar is able to address the disease at any stage with a variety of treatments and procedures.
A patient who may be suffering from gum disease will need to attend an initial examination appointment. This is referred to as a PSR, or Periodontal Screening and Recording. This method categorizes the gums into six different sections, probing each with a dental tool. The reaction of the tissue indicates whether the patient has the disease, and if so, how far it has progressed.
Periodontal Scaling and Root Planing
Several non-surgical treatments are performed as first-line defenses against the progression of gum disease. The first step in treating gum disease is often a professional deep cleaning in a process called scaling and root planing. Using hand-held and ultrasonic instruments, Dr. Afar will remove plaque and tartar from the gum line, as well as below the gums on the tooth roots, eliminating periodontal pockets. He will also take this time to smooth the root surfaces. The removal of these harmful substances is often very successful in eradicating the disease.
If non-surgical tactics are unsuccessful, there are several surgical procedures that can be utilized. These procedures include gum tissue grafting and laser treatment.
Gum Recession and Gum Grafting
Gum tissue receding from the teeth is a dangerous symptom of periodontitis. It can leave the teeth unprotected, causing sensitivity and an increased risk of cavities. It can also make the teeth look long and abnormal. Gum grafting, or gingivoplasty, is a procedure that takes soft tissue from other areas of the mouth, a donor, or a synthetic source and stitches it to the gum line. If periodontitis has also caused the jaw bone to recede, hard tissue grafts are available as well.
Laser Gum Treatment
Lasers are being used in dentistry more often today, as it is a tool that guarantees precision and accuracy. In the case of periodontitis, a laser can be utilized to remove inflamed gum tissue from around the roots of the teeth. This is often done before a root planing, in order to simplify the process and allow Dr. Afar room to smooth out the root surfaces. Lasers are ideal for working near tooth roots, as this is a sensitive area, and precision is vital.