Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums. The swelling and redness that accompany gingivitis (the early stage of periodontal disease) is reversible through regular brushing, flossing, and good oral hygiene. However, if left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, the stage of gum disease where tooth loss is imminent.

Putnam Dental Associates is dedicated to providing our patients with the education they need to maintain a healthy mouth, preventative care and the promotion of good oral health and hygiene.

Understanding Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, develops when there is an overgrowth of bacteria around the roots of your teeth and gum line. The most common contributors to developing gingivitis, the early stages of periodontal disease, are poor oral hygiene and failure to see the dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning.

When plaque and tartar are not removed in a timely manner, bacteria can continue to grow, inflaming the gum line, causing gums to pull away from the teeth. These pockets, or spaces around the gum line, can develop infection and lead to bone and tissue deterioration, a stage of gum disease known as periodontitis. Other risk factors that can contribute to periodontal disease include teeth grinding and jaw clenching, poor diet, smoking, age, and genetics.

Cause of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is caused by the bacteria in plaque. The bacteria cause the irritation that leads to inflamed, red, and tender gums. An increased risk of gum disease is associated with poor oral hygiene, the hormonal changes that coincide with pregnancy, poorly controlled diabetes, crooked teeth, and ill-fitting dental appliances.

Side Effects and Symptoms

There are various side effects that commonly present with periodontal disease, such as:

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Dental sensitivity, especially near the gum line
  • Visibly infected gums
  • Severe gum recession
  • Frequent gum bleeding
  • Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in mouth
  • Tooth loss

How to Effectively Fight Periodontal Disease

The first step toward healthy teeth and gums is scheduling regular visits with one of our dedicated hygienists every six months. Minor cases of gingivitis can often be addressed with a regular dental cleaning. If more severe periodontal disease is detected, a more thorough treatment approach may be necessary. At Putnam Dental Associates, we are able to treat gum disease with a wide range of treatments, depending on the severity of your symptoms.

Non-surgical Treatment

For mild to moderate cases, Dr. Zusin may begin with a deep cleaning that will include scaling and root planning and medication.

  • Scaling and Root Planing: Before beginning the procedure, Dr. Zusin can administer a local anesthetic or sedation to make you more comfortable. We can then use a scaling tool to remove bacteria buildup along the gum line and tooth’s surface. Your practitioner will then use root planing device to remove bacteria along the teeth’s roots, smoothing out any rough spots where bacteria tend to gather.
  • Medication: In cases where there is severe bacteria buildup, Dr. Zusin will apply an antibiotic gel on your gum line to prevent further infection from developing.

Surgical Treatment

For more severe cases, when gum recession and jawbone deterioration have already developed, surgery may be required. These precise procedures can protect the health of your gums and lower your risk for other serious health issues.

  • Flap Surgery: Dr. Zusin will make conservative incisions to lift your gums to remove hardened harmful bacteria (calculus). Once the bacteria has been removed, he may smooth bone surface damage to prevent infection from reoccurring and encourage your gums to reattach to the bone. Finally, Dr. Zusin can use sutures to reposition and tighten the gum line around the teeth to avoid bacteria from getting trapped in the future.
  • Bone and Tissue Grafting: Dr. Zusin may place bone grafts to surgically repair jawbone damage and promote bone regrowth. With tissue grafting, he will take soft tissue from another area of the mouth and surgically place it over receding gums to protect the tooth’s root and prevent bacteria from accumulating.

If you are experiencing gum inflammation or dental sensitivity, the team at Putnam Dental Associates can provide gentle, effective periodontal care to protect your oral health. Contact our office today to schedule your appointment with Dr. Zusin.