Gum disease can do more than ruin your smile.
At Brookline Dental Specialists, we offer our patients expert periodontal care. At our state of the art facility in Brookline, you’ll find the best possible dental treatment available provided by our caring team.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontitis, which also known as gum disease, is caused by serious gum inflammation and infections which damage the soft tissue of the gums. When not treated, periodontitis can lead to loss of the bone that supports your teeth. Periodontitis can cause teeth to loosen or even tooth loss.
Periodontitis not only affects your bones and teeth. When gums are inflamed, harmful bacteria from the mouth can enter your bloodstream. Untreated periodontitis is a known risk factor for developing heart disease.
At BDS, we diagnose and treat periodontal disease with procedures that can help control the negative effects to your teeth and gums. Our goal when treating periodontal patients is to restore health to the gums and bones that support teeth and to prevent tooth loss.
What are the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease?
What are the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease?
Signs and symptoms of periodontal disease include the following:
- Swollen or puffy gums
- Very red or purplish gums
- Receding gums
- Gums that are tender to the touch
- Gums that bleed easily, especially when brushing or flossing
- Pockets of pus between teeth
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth or loss of teeth
- Painful chewing
- New gaps between teeth or malocclusion (improper alignment of teeth)
How is Periodontal Disease Treated?
Scaling and Root Planing
At BDS, the starting point for treating periodontal disease is scaling and root planing. Both scaling and root planing are deep cleaning techniques that aim to control periodontal disease.
Scaling is simply the process of scraping the plaque and tartar off teeth, especially along the gumline. Plaque is caused when food particles, bacteria, and bacterial waste products build up on teeth and gums. Plaque buildup can harden under your gumline turning into tartar (also knowns as calculus). Tartar is a key factor in developing gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease which can lead to more serious periodontal disease.
While your hygienist scrapes off built-up plaque at every routine oral health visit, scaling uses special tools, such as a periodontal scaler, to reach deep pockets of plaque and tartar in the gums. Because scaling is semi-invasive to the gumline, topical or local anesthesia is often administered prior to the procedure.
Root planing is an even deeper cleaning procedure than scaling. Root planing penetrates below the surface of the gums and into the pockets that develop below the teeth harboring the harmful bacteria that leads to periodontal disease. Root planing smooths out the roots of the teeth, allowing them to heal after being cleansed of disease. A local anesthesia is often administered prior to this procedure to ensure a patient’s comfort.
Both scaling and root planing can often take multiple appointments to ensure teeth and gums are thoroughly cleaned to prevent further infection. After a scaling or root planing procedure, patients often experience sensitivity, swelling, tenderness and bleeding of the gums. Special mouthwashes or medications can be prescribed for aftercare of these deep cleaning procedures.
A follow-up appointment is usually necessary to determine the effectiveness of the procedure performed and to determine whether further cleaning is necessary to prevent future infections.
Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP) and Platelet-rich Fibrin (PRF) Therapies
An innovative new treatment for advanced periodontal disease now being offered at BDS is platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and platelet-rich fibrin (PRF) therapies. The two therapies work in much the same way, but the blood needed to create the healing plasma is processed differently in PRP than in PRF.
Speeding up the healing process is the huge benefit of these therapies. Use of these therapies helps seal surgical sites from infectious agents and increases the regrowth of bone and tissue, decreasing the risk of later complications and discomfort. These therapies are often used after periodontal procedures like bone grafting and bone repair in preparation for dental implants.
Because the plasma used in these procedures is derived from a sample of the patient’s own blood, these treatments are very safe for patients. Most patients experience less discomfort following the procedure, but medications to control discomfort can be provided if necessary.
What Can You Do to Prevent Periodontal Disease?
Prevention of periodontal disease starts with a good home oral hygiene routine. This routine should include brushing your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes at a time and flossing at least once a day. Flossing before you brush is a good way to clean away loosened food particles and bacteria and makes brushing more effective.
It is also important to schedule regular oral health hygiene visits. At these visits, our skilled hygienists deep clean your teeth and gums while also checking for signs of decay or disease. We recommend you come in for routine oral health visits at least twice a year, though we may recommend more frequent visits for patients with periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is a serious condition, but we have treatments and procedures that can address your individual periodontal needs. If you have questions or concerns about periodontal disease and the treatments we offer at Brookline Dental Specialists, contact us to schedule a consultation in Brookline, MA, today!
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