Periodontal disease, or gum disease, leads to tooth loss due to the destruction of the bone support that holds the teeth in the jawbone. In 1962, the average 60-year-old American only had 12 teeth left in their mouth, and gum disease caused most of this tooth loss.
Increased patient dental education and gum disease prevention programs have slowed down the disease in terms of bone loss around teeth. Still, about 80% of adults are affected by gingivitis, an early-stage gum disease.
What Causes Gum Disease
Gum disease results from active bacteria that form in the “biofilm.” When not adequately removed from the teeth and gum line surface, the bacteria can move deep into the gum tissue, causing swelling, bleeding, and, eventually, infection.
As gum disease advances, the gums recede, and teeth look longer. Soft root surfaces become exposed, increasing the risk of root decay. Periodontitis, the most advanced stage of gum disease, involves bone loss and often results in loose or lost teeth. Dr. Sowell offers periodontal therapy for all stages of gum disease.
Periodontal Disease Treatment Options in Plano, TX
How We Prevent & Manage Gum Disease
Our Plano, Texas office keeps our patients free of early gum disease as we design treatments to eliminate the “biofilm,” not just clear around the root like most insurance-approved treatments. Our treatment model is science-based and not insurance-based. Insurance will cover much of the treatment but not all.
We use saliva samples to identify the bacterial organisms growing in the gums through DNA isolation. With this information, we can target local and, if needed, systemic antibiotics to attack the bacteria concurrently using ultrasonics to stimulate the gums’ immune response to attack the biofilm.
Additionally, we can determine if a person is genetically prone to gum disease. For patients with more advanced gum disease (periodontitis), we sometimes use laser therapy to sterilize a root surface and the space around it. This allows us to treat more advanced gum disease without using classical surgical procedures as in the past.
In short, we use literature-supported science and technology to eliminate gum disease and monitor it to keep it under control and treat it in its earliest stages, sparing our patients from the long-term consequences of gum disease.
We use ultrasonics and lasers to treat and accelerate healing and keep our patients comfortable by eliminating shots and only using numbing gels.
Link Between Gum Health and Overall Health
While seldom painful and frequently free of obvious signs or symptoms, periodontal disease can progress undetected until supporting bone is destroyed. Eighty percent of all adults have some form of gingivitis (bacterial infection in the gum), and 40% have periodontitis (bacterial infection in the bone).
Early treatment and prevention are essential. While bacteria cause periodontal disease, several factors, including poorly fitted bridges, badly aligned teeth, and defective fillings, contribute to the development of this condition.
Periodontal disease has now been linked to heart disease. People with periodontal disease are two times more at risk for heart disease. It also causes low birth weight babies when mothers have periodontal disease. The problem is that the bacteria under the gum are like an open wound, getting into the bloodstream and causing “bacteremia.”
If you have periodontal disease, we provide nonsurgical treatment designed to mechanically remove the bacteria below the gum. This process may also include the application of site-specific topical and systemic antibiotics and antimicrobials below the gum line to allow the gum tissue to heal.
Research shows that the bacteria are contained in a very difficult biofilm to remove completely. Therefore, we use the “repetitive debridement” technique to eliminate the biofilm.
For patients with advanced periodontal disease or patients not responding to conservative treatment, conservative laser therapy has replaced traditional gum surgery.
Gum Disease Risk Factors
- Age – Studies indicate that older people have the highest rates of periodontal disease.
- Smoking/tobacco use – Tobacco use is linked with many serious illnesses, such as cancer, lung disease, heart disease, and numerous other health problems. Tobacco users also are at increased risk for periodontal disease.
- Genetics – Research has indicated that some people may be genetically susceptible to gum disease. Despite aggressive oral care habits, these people may likely develop periodontal disease.
- Stress – Research demonstrates that stress can make it more difficult for the body to fight off infection, including periodontal disease.
- Medications – Some drugs, such as oral contraceptives, antidepressants, and certain heart medicines, can affect your oral health. You should inform your dental care provider of all medicines you are taking.
- Clenching or grinding of teeth – This puts excess force on the supporting tissues of the teeth and speeds up the destruction rate of these periodontal tissues.
- Systemic diseases – Interfere with the body’s inflammatory system and may worsen the condition of the gums. These include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Poor nutrition and obesity – A diet low in important nutrients can compromise the body’s immune system. It makes it harder for the body to fight off infection. Because periodontal disease begins as an infection, poor nutrition can worsen the condition of your gums.
Periodontal Disease FAQs
When should I go to the dentist if my gums are bleeding?
Patients should go to the dentist if their gums are bleeding chronically. Various things, such as gum disease, can cause bleeding gums. If you are experiencing bleeding gums often, visiting your dentist is a good idea. They can assess your mouth and determine if your bleeding gums are a concern or not.
How does salt water rinse heal gum infection?
Saltwater rinse draws infection out of your gums. Warm saltwater soothes the gums, letting them heal. The best way to make a saltwater solution is to combine half a teaspoon of salt into a warm glass of water.
How can I strengthen my gums and teeth naturally?
To strengthen your gums, you must increase your oral care routine. Choosing a good toothpaste and mouthwash with fluoride is a good way to care for your gums. Smoking is damaging to gums, so if you smoke, quitting is a good way to rebuild and strengthen your gums.
Treatment for Gum Recession
Gum disease can cause receding gums, negatively impacting the smile’s appearance and increasing tooth decay risk. Plano, TX dentist Dr. Sowell offers several treatment options, including Emdogain™ technology. It’s a bioactive material that we apply in gel form to the affected area to stimulate hard and soft tissue regeneration.
Schedule a Dental Exam and Periodontal Consultation Today
Dr. Mark Sowell can help you achieve excellent gum health with periodontal disease treatments. Call our Plano dentist office today at (972) 382-6855 or request an appointment online to learn how Dr. Sowell can help you. We accept new patients from Plano, Frisco, Dallas, and Southlake County!