Dr. Jerry M. Strauss recognizes that advanced periodontal care is the foundation of a healthy smile. Gum disease (periodontal disease) develops when plaque and bacteria build up around and inside the soft tissue of your gums. Red, swollen, bleeding or sensitive gums are examples of the common symptoms you may experience with gingivitis and the early stages of gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease can get much worse, ultimately leading to gum recession, tooth loss and decay. Periodontal disease may also increase the risk of serious overall health conditions, including stroke and heart disease. During your routine dental examinations, our dentist can detect early signs of periodontal disease and promptly treat it to improve the health of your gums.
Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease
Gum disease may not cause any pain, so it is important to be aware of the following symptoms:
- Red, swollen or bleeding gums
- Gums that feel tender when eating, brushing or flossing
- Receding gums that make your teeth appear longer
- Chronic bad breath
- A bad taste in the mouth
- Sores in the mouth
- Pus surrounding the teeth and gums
- Loose teeth
- A change in the way the teeth come together when the mouth is closed
- Overly sensitive teeth
If you experience any of these symptoms, Dr. Strauss strongly encourages you to schedule a screening for gum disease. The sooner gum disease is diagnosed, the better the prognosis.
The Progression of Gum Disease
Gum disease occurs when bacteria is not removed with regular brushing and flossing. Left on the teeth, the bacteria infect the tissues of the mouth. Plaque that has built up hardens into tartar, which is impossible to remove without a professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist. As gum disease progresses, the gum tissue hugging the teeth loosens and pulls away from the teeth, creating spaces or “pockets.” These pockets are great places for bacteria to multiply; they also make it difficult to adequately clean the teeth and gums. The receding gum tissue can expose the roots of the tooth, which is what leads to sensitivity. Eventually, gum disease causes bone and tooth loss.
Aesthetic Dental Care of New Jersey offers a variety of procedures to restore your gums to a healthier state. Dr. Strauss and our experienced dental team can treat gum disease effectively and precisely using some of the latest laser dentistry techniques and minimally invasive procedures.
How gum disease is treated depends on the type of disease and how severe it is. Dr. Strauss must examine the extent of damage and possibly take photographs and X-rays before recommending a plan of action.
The early stages of gum disease are usually treated with a professional cleaning. Dr. Strauss or one of our dental hygienists uses special instruments to remove plaque that has built up and hardened into tartar.
For more severe levels of gum disease, our non-surgical treatments involve scaling and root planing. This special cleaning removes plaque and tartar deposits from the tooth and cleans the area below the gumline on the tooth root surfaces. After the plaque and tartar deposits are removed, the tooth root surfaces are smoothed or “planed.” Scaling and root planing help heal gum tissue and shrink the gum pockets that have formed around the teeth. The goal is to prevent plaque from adhering to the now smooth root surfaces.
After scaling and root planing, our team provides instructions for at-home cleaning; we may also prescribe medication to help control the infection and eliminate any related discomfort. At follow-up appointments, the depths of the pockets are measured to check their healing progress.
If scaling and root planing do not help shrink the gum pockets and heal the gum tissue, surgery may become necessary to get rid of the pockets. Without pockets, bacteria cannot build up, and the gum tissue has an opportunity to heal and regenerate.
For more information on our periodontal care options in Totowa, New Jersey, or to schedule a consultation, please contact Aesthetic Dental Care of New Jersey at 973-227-8998 today.