At Delaware Periodontics, we place a heavy emphasis on prevention, to help our patients practice excellent oral hygiene to ensure their smile stays as healthy as possible. However, we still see many cases of gum disease in our Wilmington office, and want to educate both current and prospective patients on this common infection. Dr. Bradford Klassman and his team examine, diagnose and treat gum disease with a variety of treatment options, including delivering minimally invasive laser periodontal treatment.
You can learn more about gum disease and how to prevent it below.
What is Gum Disease?
Periodontal disease, called gum disease, is a common infection that damages the soft tissue and bone supporting the tooth. In the earliest stage of periodontal disease, gingivitis, the infection affects only the gums. When the periodontitis is more severe, it attacks below the gum line and can damage all of the supporting tissues, resulting in your teeth detaching from the gums and the destruction of bony ridge that holds your teeth in, called the alveolar bone.
Why is Gum Disease Bad?
It is estimated that 35.8 million Americans are living with a bacterial infection of the gums known as periodontal disease. On average, 500 plus different types of bacteria live in your mouth. While many of these bacteria are actually beneficial to your health, there are others that with the right conditions can cause disease. Dr. Klassman at Delaware Periodontist can treat even the most severe form of periodontal disease, called is periodontitis. It is caused by plaque that develops just below the gum line in your periodontal pocket where it causes the attachment of the tooth and its supporting tissues to break down. The mildest form of periodontal disease is known as gingivitis and is triggered by bacterial plaque that forms at the gum line.
Living a healthy lifestyle helps you keep the harmful bacteria under control. Not taking care of your teeth and gums can cause a surge of harmful bacteria. Some of this oral bacteria may enter the bloodstream and circulate throughout your body. This could contribute to processes that could lead to serious health problems beyond the mouth, in addition to the threat of losing your teeth. For example, not only can periodontal diseases cause bad breath and tooth loss, but they may contribute to a variety of serious life threatening systemic conditions including:
- Heart Disease
Researchers are now investigating the relationship between periodontitis and chronic systemic diseases.
Diagnosing Gum Disease
Periodontal disease actually encompasses a number of diseases of the periodontal tissues that can result in tooth loss. Dr. Klassman is specifically trained to recognize the various types of gum disease, to make an accurate diagnosis, and to prepare appropriate treatment options.
Some of the symptoms of gum disease that you may recognize include:
- Mouth pain
- Bleeding gums, especially when brushing
- Spaces developing between teeth
- Swollen and tender gums
- Receding gums (exposing the bottom of your teeth)
- Persistent bad breath
- Pus between teeth and gums
- Developing sores
What Can You Do To Prevent Gum Disease?
Almost a third of the population may develop gum disease due to genetics. Systemic diseases, pregnancy, oral cancer, and using certain medicines can also attribute to gum disease. However, there are things that you can do, and things you can avoid, that will help prevent the disease from affecting your health. Those things include:
- Practice excellent oral hygiene - brush and floss at least twice daily
- Don’t use tobacco
- Repair and/or replace bridges that no longer fit
- Get orthodontic treatment to fix any crooked teeth
- Visit your general dentist every 6 months and make sure you have any cavities filled and replace any defective fillings.
How Does A Periodontist Treat Gum Disease?
Dr. Klassman treats gum disease using various techniques, depending on the severity and type of the disease. These treatments include:
- Scaling & Root Planing. This is a typical treatment for gum disease that involves a non-surgical procedure that removes plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line. The teeth are cleaned (scaling) and then made smooth (planing).
- Gum Flap Surgery. For more serious cases, Dr. Klassman can perform gum flap surgery which involves cutting into the gum tissue to allow for deep cleaning around the tooth roots.
- Laser Periodontal Therapy. This non-surgical treatment involves is the very first FDA-approved laser treatment for gum disease. Delaware Periodontist is the first periodontal practice in the state of Delaware to offer the Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure for the treatment of gum disease. LANAP is a painless and effective treatment that does not require the use of a scalpel or sutures. Here’s how it works:
- After diagnosis, X-rays will be taken to make a definitive diagnosis and determine the severity of the infection.
- You will receive a local anesthetic to eliminate any possible discomfort.
- A small laser fiber, equivalent to the thickness of three hairs, will be inserted between the tooth and gum to clear the infection.
- In just two hours you will be able to get on with the rest of your day.
Dr. Klassman is experienced and skilled in the use of this technology for treating gum disease which offers many benefits to our patients including:
- Non-surgical, requires no cutting
- We can remove only the targeted, infected tissue, and leave the healthy tissue intact.
- Allows us to get a closure of the periodontal pocket wound and allow healing to take place.
- Enhances the likelihood that patients will be able to restore and protect their affected teeth.
Find Out More About Gum Disease Treatment. Call Today!
If you find you have symptoms of gum disease, we encourage you to make an appointment with Dr. Klassman for an examination at our Wilmington, DE, office. He will determine the health of your gums and discuss any treatment options you may need. Call us at (302) 658-7871 or use our appointment request form online today. We look forward to getting you back on track to health gums, a healthy mouth, and a healthy you.