Early diagnosis and aggressive treatment
Periodontal disease begins when the sulcus (pocket or space) between the tooth and gums becomes filled with bacteria, plaque, and tartar. This causes inflammation to the surrounding tissues, and when these irritants go un-noticed, they cause damage to your gums and eventually, to the bone that supports your teeth.
At Williamsburg Center for Dental Health, we aspire to diagnose this disease in the early stages, known as Gingivitis. In the event that the periodontal disease has progressed into a later stage, we offer customized treatment plans, which include:
- Regular cleanings
- At-home oral hygiene counseling
- Scaling and root planing
- Periodontal surgery
Our patients often wonder about our recommendations for treating periodontal disease (gum infection) and we want them to understand the changes that can affect gum and bone health even while seeing the hygienist every 6 months.
- Bacteria: If you have not been properly cleaning the bacteria off by brushing, flossing and using a water-pick, you could have bacteria building up which causes your gum tissue to break down.
- Mechanical Stress: If you have been grinding or clenching your teeth, you increase the mechanical stress on the gum and bone.
- Environmental Factors: If your health status has changed and you are taking new medications, this could cause inflammation, which creates the pockets and bleeding characterisitc of periodonal disease.
What happens next?
Gum disease will not go away on its own. Because it is an infection, it needs to be treated professionally with an antibiotic in combination with scaling and root planing also known as periodontal therapy.
This scaling and root planing removes much of the plaque and tartar above and below your gumline where bacteria produce toxins that irritate your gums and cause infections. Although the plaque and tartar are removed by your hygienist, bacteria can be left at the base of the gum pocket which in turn will hinder healing.
We use an antibiotic called Arestin to combat this bacteria, because it is administered directly into the infected areas or "pockets" in your gums.
Periodontal disease is important to treat so that you maintain the health of the bone supporting your teeth and to prevent heart disease. We want to make sure that we are working together with you to ensure you are taking all the measures you need to maintain good dental health. YOU and your health are very important to us!