What’s Included in Periodontics?

While being cavity-free is a good foundation for protecting your teeth, maintaining healthy gums is just as important. When untreated, gum disease can damage your gum tissue and the bones that support your teeth and hold them in place.

Periodontics includes preventive services, disease treatments, and surgical repair of the effects of gum disease.

Also called periodontal disease, gum disease ranks as a common cause of tooth loss among US adults. This preventable condition affects almost half of all adults 30 or older

Periodontics specialist Ifeanyi Ezunu, DDS, and the team at Spectrum Dental Care in Norcross, Georgia, provide a full range of periodontal services to help patients establish and maintain optimal gum health with professional cleanings.

When problems arise, Dr. Ezunu has the expertise necessary to restore gum health by treating infection and inflammation or replacing lost teeth with dental implants.

Find out more about the ways that periodontics helps maintain a healthy mouth with procedures that prevent, treat, and repair the effects of gum disease.

Preventing gum disease

Even if you’ve never had gum disease, you’ve likely benefited from services related to periodontics. Your routine dental visit includes steps that help identify gum disease as early as possible to avoid infection and give you the best chance of saving your teeth. 

You may not notice the early stages of gum disease, called gingivitis, but a dental professional can identify warning signs such as gum recession or bleeding gums during an oral exam. 

Dr. Ezunu determines your risk for periodontal disease by using a periodontal probe. This small dental ruler measures the space between each tooth and the gumline. 

In the early stages of gingivitis, your gums begin to pull away from your teeth, allowing gaps to form between your teeth and gums. When the gap measures more than 4 millimeters, it can indicate gum disease. 

The deep professional teeth cleaning you get at a routine dental visit also helps prevent gum disease. The process removes plaque, which helps to keep your gums and surrounding tissue healthy. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria and food debris, is the leading cause of gum disease.

Treating gum disease

If you develop gum disease, your treatment may require specialized periodontal services such as the following: 

Scaling and root planing

Scaling and root planing is a nonsurgical deep cleaning that involves a more extensive cleaning than the one you receive during a routine dental visit. The treatment involves two steps that may require more than one office visit. 

Scaling removes plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) from the surface of your teeth. It involves cleaning the areas above your gumline and extending to the bottom of the pocket between the tooth and the gumline.

Root planing involves cleaning and smoothing any area of a tooth root infected by bacteria. Smoothing the tooth roots helps your gums reattach to your teeth in areas where they had regressed. 

While most people tolerate scaling and planing without an anesthetic, you may prefer a local anesthetic or sedation dentistry.

Antibiotics

Severe cases of periodontal disease may require antibiotic treatment along with scaling and planing to eradicate an infection. The medication can be administered in a pill form or as a topical gel placed directly in the pocket between your tooth and the gumline. 

Without treatment, an infection can cause bleeding and sore gums, painful chewing, and bad breath. As it grows, the bacteria can attack the bone and tissue that hold your teeth in place, resulting in tooth loss.

An untreated periodontal infection can enter your bloodstream and affect the rest of your body, increasing your risk of health problems including heart disease and stroke, bacterial pneumonia, and delivering low birth weight babies

Repairing the effects of gum disease

Surgical treatment

When the gum tissue is damaged so extensively that it can’t be repaired with scaling and planing, you may require surgical treatment. Periodontal surgery can reduce the space between your teeth and gumline when excessive regression has occurred. 

When necessary, periodontal surgery can also replace bone lost to infection or help new bone and gum tissue grow.

Dental implants

Periodontics includes the administration of dental implants when teeth are lost to severe periodontal disease. 

These customized replacements use a titanium post that’s screwed into your jawbone to mimic a natural tooth root. The post holds the crown that matches the color of your surrounding teeth for a natural-looking result. 

Find out more about the ways that periodontics can help protect the health of your teeth and your overall well-being. Schedule an appointment online or call Spectrum Dental Care today.

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