Never underestimate the importance of healthy gums. The prevention and treatment of gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is one of the primary focuses of our practice. Maintaining gum health is essential for both cosmetic reasons, as well as health reasons.
Gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss, and it has been linked to many serious health conditions. Untreated severe gum disease can increase your risk of heart attack, problematic pregnancy, diabetes, and many other conditions.
Gum disease begins with plaque and tartar accumulation around the teeth, which can cause infection of the gum tissue. It is typically painless; the most common symptom is bleeding gums when you brush your teeth. Other signs of gum disease include discoloration, tenderness, and puffiness of the gum tissue.
Periodontal disease does not usually involve pain, and the symptoms are mild, so many people are unaware of the condition if they do not see a dentist regularly. Although the visible symptoms appear mild, true destruction is occurring below the gum line.
The infection gradually spreads, causing degradation of the gum tissue, periodontal ligaments, and eventually bone tissue. The good news is that gum disease can often be prevented, and if it does develop, it is treatable.
Scaling & Root Planing (SRP)
The first line of defense against gum disease is a simple procedure called scaling and root planing, also referred to as deep cleaning. This nonsurgical procedure removes accumulated plaque, tartar, and infection below the gum line and smooths the surface of the tooth root, which makes it more difficult for plaque to accumulate in the future. In conjunction with diligent at home hygiene, this may be sufficient treatment for mild cases of periodontal disease.
Arestin™ Antibiotic Therapy
Arestin™ is a unique antibiotic product that can be used in conjunction with scaling and root planing. A powder containing time-release antibiotics, Arestin™ is placed in the pocket between the tooth and gum, where the infection is. It can be especially helpful for clearing up an infection in stubborn and hard-to-reach areas.
When a patient exhibits a periodontal condition, we typically schedule follow-up appointments every three to four months, depending on the patient’s individual needs. During these appointments, we monitor the progress of the condition, and see if it is improving, getting worse, or specific areas are becoming more problematic.
If we see inflammation, bleeding, or other signs of acceleration, we may place Arestin™ directly on the problem area. Today, many insurance plans are covering the cost of the antibiotic Arestin™.
Once gum disease has been treated successfully, maintenance is critical to prevent it from returning. This involves a cooperative effort between you and our dental team. We will schedule regular appointments for teeth cleaning and periodontal evaluation, with the frequency depending on your specific needs.
We will also work with you to educate you about the best way to care for your mouth, to form healthy habits and effective hygiene practices. We may recommend specific products such as electric toothbrushes or proxy brushes for patients who have difficulty brushing thoroughly. We may recommend using a mouth rinse such as Listerine, or provide a prescription for a higher strength product.
Fluoride treatments are often recommended to fortify and protect the root surface from decay.
The prevention or treatment of gum disease is a vital facet of dental care, and it’s always a priority in our office because we are committed to your health and well-being. Just call us at 561-404-4325 and schedule an evaluation to learn more about preserving and improving the health of your gums. We take pride in providing outstanding dental care for residents of Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, Juno Beach, Tequesta, and beyond.