Periodontics—or periodontal gum disease—is a condition that affects nearly 50% of Americans. It is a bacterial infection characterized by swollen, reddened gums that pull away from the teeth, often resulting in tooth and bone loss.
Fortunately, if you or a loved one suffer from periodontal gum disease, there are world-class periodontists in Philadelphia at Penn Dental Family Practice (PDFP) with the experience and latest treatment knowledge to help you regain your oral health.
Understanding the Causes, Effects, and Treatment of Periodontal Gum Disease
In its beginning stages, periodontal disease starts as gingivitis. Gingivitis is an infection or inflammation of the gums caused by plaque buildup on teeth, usually because of poor dental hygiene. Plaque is a substance made up of bacteria, mucus, and food that sticks to your teeth above and below the gum line. It can be removed or controlled by brushing between meals and flossing. But when it’s not controlled, it irritates the gums and causes inflammation, leading to infection.
Your PDFP dentist and hygienist remove plaque with cleanings during exams. Then, when you continue with recommended brushing and flossing and follow bleeding gums treatments such as rinsing with salt water or antibacterial mouthwash, you can keep gingivitis from reoccurring or progressing. Periodontitis develops when plaque buildup and irritation continue.
Early signs of periodontal disease include:
- Swollen, reddened, or bleeding gums
- Sore gums
- Seeing blood when flossing or brushing teeth
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth (or losing a tooth) or developing space between teeth
- Pain when chewing
- Gums pulling away, exposing more of the tooth
- Feeling a difference when you bite down
In some instances, you may even see pus around your gum line. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may wonder if periodontitis disease is reversible. Yes, it is. However, when left untreated, you’re not only jeopardizing your teeth, but may also leave yourself vulnerable to other health issues from the infection, such as respiratory disease, arthritis, heart conditions, and diabetes complications.
So check with your PDFP dentist right away before it progresses. They will evaluate and determine the severity of your condition and arrange a visit to a PDFP periodontist in our office—most often on the same day.
Our PDFP periodontists specialize in diagnosing, preventing, and treating periodontal gum disease. In addition to an exam, they may also evaluate your condition by:
- Measuring the pocket depth of the gums between teeth to see how far gums have receded
- Taking x-rays to see if there is any bone loss
After evaluation and determining the severity of your gum disease, your periodontist will treat you with:
Deep cleaning. Using scaling, your periodontist cleans plaque and tartar buildup from the tooth, above and below the gum line. Then, during the same visit, root planing will be used to clean the buildup from your tooth roots, allowing the gum to reattach to the tooth. These processes may require a local anesthetic and could take place over several visits if needed to treat all affected teeth. Medication may also be inserted or applied topically or taken by mouth.
Surgery. Surgical treatment may be required if your gum disease and damage are advanced. Surgeries include:
- Flap surgery (pocket reduction procedures), where tiny incisions are made in the gum to better access roots for planing and scaling for reducing the pocket size
- Soft tissue grafts to replace receded gums
- Bone grafts to replace lost bone
- Guided tissue regeneration that places a special fabric over damaged bone, helping it grow back
After treatment, you must follow your periodontist’s oral hygiene recommendations for a full recovery and keep the disease from returning. This is especially important if you ever need dental implants because implants can’t be placed in gum tissue weakened by periodontal disease.
Does Insurance Cover Periodontal Disease Treatment Costs?
In most cases, periodontal disease treatment is covered by insurance. Our office can help you with your plan’s benefits.
Worried About Gingivitis or Periodontal Disease? Visit PDFP Periodontists in Philadelphia Now
Our collaborative office specializes in all areas of dentistry so that we can give every aspect of your oral health the best care possible. So, if you or a loved one are concerned about suffering from gingivitis or periodontal gum disease, don’t hesitate to make an appointment here or by calling (215) 898-PDFP (7337). We will help you recover from periodontal disease and its many health implications—fast.