Everyone knows how important strong and healthy teeth are for proper biting and chewing, but the state of your gums can also have far-reaching effects on your mouth and overall wellbeing. When the gums become infected or diseased, their ability to support the teeth becomes compromised. In serious cases, tooth loss may occur due to the gums deteriorating. Gum disease also raises the risk of serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
At the practice of Dr. Mia Fitzgerald, our dentist and world-class team are committed to helping you enjoy a lifetime of healthy gums and teeth. We offer a full range of preventative dentistry services to minimize the risk of gum disease. And when it does occur, we can treat it promptly using a number of restorative treatments and techniques.
Stages and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is an inflammation of the gums, caused by the bacteria in plaque and tartar left on the teeth. There are two major stages of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. The earliest and mildest stage is gingivitis, which often begins painlessly and with few visible symptoms. As it progresses, the gums may appear red and inflamed. They can also bleed easily, especially when brushing and flossing teeth.
If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, in which the gum tissue begins to pull away from the teeth, forming pockets that harbor more bacteria. The pockets can become infected and the plaque can spread beneath the gum line. The soft tissue and bone supporting the teeth may break down, causing the teeth to loosen and fall out.
Gum disease can have any of the following symptoms:
- Bleeding gums
- Red or swollen gums
- Tooth pain
- Receding gums
- Tooth sensitivity
- Persistent bad breath
- Loose teeth
Periodontal Care with Dr. Mia Fitzgerald
After a comprehensive periodontal evaluation, we can determine the best course of action. Our treatment goal is to stop the disease from progressing. When treated early, gum disease is reversible. Your periodontal care plan can include any of the following:
Deep Scaling and Root Planing: This non-surgical treatment, performed by one of our dental hygienists or Dr. Fitzgerald, includes the removal of calculus (tartar) and plaque followed by teeth polishing to remove stain and residual plaque. Treatment is performed with a local anesthesia for your comfort. We may recommend a fluoride varnish or other treatment to strengthen the teeth. During the cleaning, periodontal probing is charted to gather information about the health of periodontal tissue.
At-home oral health care is vital to reversing and stopping gum disease. Oral hygiene instruction, information and samples of dental products will be provided at the time of your professional cleaning.
Arestin Antibiotic Therapy: Antibiotic therapy eliminates harmful bacteria in the gums. The antibiotic is placed on infected periodontal pockets to kill the present bacteria.
Surgery: Advanced stages of gum disease may require surgery. Flap surgery involves removing tartar deposits in deep gum pockets, while regenerative surgery focuses on rebuilding gum tissue and jawbone lost to gum disease. Should you need surgery, Dr. Fitzgerald will refer you to a periodontist and work with them to achieve the treatment goals.
To learn more about periodontal care with Dr. Fitzgerald, please schedule an appointment. Contact our Sudbury office by calling or emailing us today.