Treating Gum Disease
By Dr. Anasinski
Did you know that an estimated 80 percent of adults in America have some form of gum disease? The interesting part of this fact is that the majority of them aren’t even aware of it! The reason behind this is because gum infection (aka periodontal disease) has no symptoms until it is so bad that it’s creating havoc on a person’s oral health.
While there are several different kinds of gum disease, there are just two main categories: gingivitis, which is a mild form, and periodontitis, which includes the more severe cases of infections where gum tissue and bone deterioration are being caused. Because of the different degrees that can be present in this infection/disease, there are also a variety of treatments that we can use to stop the progression and repair any damage, thus returning your mouth to health.
Scaling and root planing – When your gum disease is classified as gingivitis, we will use a process called scaling and root planing in which we use special dental tools to scrape out any plaque or tartar that have built up under your gum line. During this process we also smooth out any rough edges on your teeth where plaque can attach and not be easily cleaned with your daily brushing or flossing. Once plaque has turned into tartar, it can only be removed with this procedure.
Pocket Depth Reduction – When tartar has gone unchecked, it will gather up under your gum line, eventually causing “pockets” in which food and bacteria can cluster and eventually start eating away at your gum tissue and jawbone. When this happens, we use a minor surgical process called pocket depth reduction to get into infected areas and clean them out.
Crown Lengthening – Sometimes gum disease will cause teeth to break down below the gum line, or in other words, destroy the teeth below the surface of what can be seen. In cases such as this I will go in and expose those areas of your tooth so that I can then repair any damage that exists.
Bone or Tissue Regeneration – At times gum disease will progress undetected to the stage where it has destroyed gum tissue or even areas of the bone underneath your teeth. With dental technology, I am able to use a surgical procedure where I can insert either live tissue or a regenerative product into the area, which over time will stimulate growth and return the gum tissue or bone back to a healthy state.
Bone Grafts – When bone has been destroyed by periodontal infections, I can return it to health by using a surgical procedure called a bone graft. For this process I insert additional bone or products that have been designed to stimulate bone growth into the area where the bone loss has occurred. After a period of time, the bone begins to regenerate and return to health.
Soft Tissue Grafts – Gum tissue can often be lost from periodontal disease and when that happens, the root of a tooth is left exposed, leaving it sensitive to temperatures and vulnerable to tooth decay. In order to once again cover that exposed area with gum tissue, I will perform a surgical process where I use soft tissue that I graft from the soft palate of your mouth and use it to cover the exposed tooth root. That tissue will begin to grow and attach to your gum line, staying snuggled up against your tooth root, keeping it safe and protected.
Laser Treatments – In some cases, I will use a laser treatment on infected areas. By placing a laser fiber into those areas, I can then direct a laser light to destroy any bacteria or diseased tissue that exists there. Once all of the infection and diseased tissue is removed, I then use the laser light to stimulate any remaining healthy tissue, thus causing it to eventually reattach to the jawbone.
Once I have examined your mouth and determined that you have periodontal disease, I then assess the type and stage of the gum disease. From that point, I use the method that is best for stopping the progression of the disease and returning your mouth to health. It is important to understand that gum disease must be stopped, because when it is left unchecked, it will not only destroy your teeth, gums and bone, it has also been linked to more serious health problems such as heart disease, strokes and diabetes.
By scheduling an appointment at least once every three to six months with our office, we will be able to help you prevent gum disease and stop it—if it does get started—so that you don’t have to suffer any of the consequences and complications that this stealthy ailment can create.