Gum disease is a serious, progressive oral health issue. It starts off almost completely undetectable. A buildup of plaque (a sticky substance that collects on your teeth) and bacteria irritate your gum tissue, causing them to become irritated (red) and inflamed (swollen). These symptoms are often mistaken for aggressive brushing and therefore ignored. Swollen gums can form periodontal pockets, creating an ideal hiding space for bacteria, and they continue to attack from underneath. Your periodontal ligaments and jawbone are also placed under attack. The longer you go without treatment, the worse the condition becomes, resulting in gum recession, loose teeth, and even tooth loss. At National Dental Williston Park, we can help to stop the progression of gum disease, allowing your gums to heal, with periodontal care.
Cleanings are done as a measure to prevent gum disease from occurring. We recommend at least two cleanings a year. During your cleaning, we scrape the surfaces of your teeth, removing plaque, tartar, and bacteria buildup. We can reach the areas that might go overlooked. Cleanings are designed to prevent gum disease, and other oral health issues, from occurring in the first place.
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is a common periodontal treatment. It is essentially a deep cleaning of your teeth. We scrape the surfaces of your teeth, including between them and below the gum line, clearing away plaque, tartar, bacteria and other debris. We also smooth the surfaces of your roots, removing bacteria and other toxins. Once your teeth have been thoroughly cleaned, your gums can begin to heal.
Gum disease causes your gum tissue to become inflamed. In some instances, this inflammation can get in the way of a proper scaling and root planing. If we miss any areas of your teeth, your gums will not be able to heal properly, and gum disease will persist. With laser dentistry, we remove the infected gum tissue. This used to be done using a scalpel, but this manual tool is known for causing bleeding, as well as post-procedure pain and swelling. The laser, which uses a high-intensity light beam, cauterizes as it cuts (limiting bleeding), and is highly accurate, minimizing pain and swelling.
Pocket Reduction Surgery
Inflammation of your gums causes the tissue to pull away from your teeth, creating pockets. Bacteria fall into the pockets and begin to attack your jawbone and periodontal ligaments. Your gums continue to be more and more irritated, causing the pockets to grow deeper. When they are too deep, we cannot thoroughly clean them. With a pocket reduction surgery, we can gain the access we need. We make incisions in your gums, exposing the teeth and the roots. Once we have thoroughly cleaned them, we stitch your gums snugly against your teeth, and they can begin to heal.
Gum and Bone Grafts
Advanced stages of gum disease have serious consequences. Your gums begin to recede, and your jawbone weakens. Receding gums can cause your teeth to appear longer than normal. A weak jawbone can lead to misaligned teeth (which can lead to uneven tooth wear and jaw pain), loose teeth and even missing teeth. In the event of missing teeth, poor bone density can prevent you from getting dental implants.
When you have experienced gum recession, a soft tissue graft can restore a more natural gumline. This surgical procedure involves taking tissue from elsewhere in your mouth, usually the roof, and stitching it over the areas of recession. In the event of bone loss, a bone graft can help. We use either your natural bone, donor bone, or a bone graft substitute to fill the weakened areas, restoring strength to your jaw.
Gum disease will not resolve on its own. If you have been diagnosed with gum disease, or have noticed any symptoms, call National Dental Williston Park today at (516) 686-9780.