Skip to content

Gum Disease Treatment in Arlington

What is Gum Disease?

person with white teeth smilingMost Arlington Dental patients worry about the dentist finding tooth decay. While tooth decay is a serious dental health concern that can result in abscessed or broken teeth, the often-overlooked gum disease can be just as serious.

Gum disease is the process by which bacteria that are allowed to live at the neck of the tooth attack and damage the gum gasket that separates the outside world from the inside of our bodies. The gasket has to be a certain thickness so if the top of this casket is damaged the body will allow the gasket to be the right thickness by moving the bone downward. Now we see recession (exposed root) which increases sensitivity (makes it harder to brush) we accumulate more plaque and the process continues.

Over time when gum disease is left untreated (10-30 years) it’s possible to lose 50% of the bone that holds our teeth in our mouth, and when half of the bone supporting the tooth is lost the tooth becomes loose and then it falls out. Then the jaw bones will continue to shrink unpredictably.

Gum disease starts off as gingivitis. This mildest form of gum disease can be quickly halted from progressing and can be easily reversed with a professional cleaning and more importantly improved oral hygiene. If gingivitis (gum inflammation only) isn’t treated, it progresses into periodontitis (anatomy of the jaw changes). It is this moderate to severe form of gum disease where substantial damage to the gums and jaw bone supporting the teeth can occur. In severe cases and chronic periodontal disease, teeth get loose and fall out. Patients with periodontal disease require the intervention and treatment to be performed by a dental professional.

The goal of this treatment is to halt further progression of bone loss, disease, loss of teeth. Once finished with gum treatment you’ll then get a clean slate to build off of. Gum treatment may be done over more than one visit, depending on your personal needs.

In the early stages of gum disease (gingivitis) your gums may become a bit swollen, tender, or even bleed. In the more advanced stage of gum disease (periodontitis) some signs and symptoms may include:

  • Bad breath
  • Redness or swelling around the gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Pain while chewing
  • Loose teeth, receding, or gaping gums
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Spaces between teeth (black triangles)

The majority of American adults have some form of gum disease. How do you know if you have gum disease? Prevention is always worth it, it is the most important part of dentistry, so therefore coming to regular hygiene visits at the dental office is the most important thing you can do to keep your own natural teeth as healthy and as long as humanly possible.

You have never seen a tv commercial for glass eyes or peg legs, you see commercials for denture glue every day. Some of the comments from denture wearers are “I can’t taste my food anymore” if you cover the roof of the mouth with 1/4 inch of plastic you lose the majority of your taste (like having a head cold), If you wear upper and lower you lose the ability to feel your food. You had the perfect chicken wing and it was crunchy, moist, and you scraped the bone a little bit, and it was hot. All of that is lost forever. Implant bridges are an option but can cost around 30K dollars per arch (sometimes much more) and some diseases like diabetes will take implants out of the picture.

The severity of your gum disease influences your course of treatment. The tartar that forms on the teeth at and underneath the gum line will only be able to be removed by a dental professional. Professional cleanings to treat early-stage gum disease (gingivitis) and gum treatment for advanced gum disease (periodontitis):

Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease and is relatively easy to treat. Patients who don’t have extensive tartar build up can reverse the progression of their gingivitis with a professional cleaning from your dental hygienist and also by doing a more thorough job with their at-home brushing and flossing per your hygienist’s recommendations.

Patients whose gingivitis has progressed into the moderate or severe stages of gum disease (periodontitis) will often need to undergo a dental procedure called gum treatment (also known as scaling and root planing or a deep cleaning.) In this procedure, your hygienist will meticulously remove the plaque and tartar off of your teeth above and below the gum line and down to the bottom of each periodontal pocket. Then, the root surfaces of your teeth are smoothed, or “planed,” to allow the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the teeth.

Sometimes, gum treatment isn’t enough to stop gum disease on its own. If periodontal pockets do not heal enough after gum treatment, gum surgery may be needed. Surgery allows your dentist to remove plaque and tartar from hard-to-reach areas. Afterwards, your gums will be stitched into place to tightly hug your teeth. Surgery can also help to shrink pocket depth and make it easier for you to keep your teeth clean.

How To Keep Your Teeth & Gums Healthy

Plan for more visits to the dentist

You will need to see your dental hygienist more often than other patients until your condition improves. The periodontal pockets and other issues from your gum disease may make it harder for you to clean plaque from your teeth so it’s important to see your hygienist for a professional cleaning every 3 months for at least the first year after being diagnosed with gum disease.

Your hygienist will talk to you about a treatment plan that works best for you, and they will recommend a maintenance care schedule based on your personal case. Over time, fewer appointments may be necessary. Once your gums are healthy, your dental hygienist will determine a maintenance schedule based on your clinical evaluations.

Set up periodic periodontal maintenance cleanings

Once your gum disease is under control, it is very important for you to see your dental hygienist consistently for periodontal maintenance care. These cleanings are more extensive than the standard cleaning and will help you keep your gums healthy. With periodontal maintenance, the amount of plaque bacteria is lowered, which calms inflammation and allows your pockets to shrink and your gums to become healthier.

Take gum disease medication as prescribed

Your teeth and gums may be sensitive after your treatment. This soreness may make you want to avoid cleaning the treated areas. But it’s important to follow your dental hygienist’s instructions on home care. If plaque is not removed effectively, gum disease may worsen, chronic bone loss will continue, and even root decay can form. Your hygienist team may recommend a special toothpaste or other treatments to decrease your tooth sensitivity.
You may also need medication to help control the infection and pain. This medication could be a pill, a special mouth rinse, or a treatment that your dental hygienist places directly into periodontal pockets right after gum treatment.

Oral care at home to prevent gum disease relapse

There are some simple things you can do at home to help your gums heal and prevent future problems:

Brush 2 times every day for 2 minutes each time to ensure that every surface of your teeth are free from debris. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a toothpaste with fluoride. Brush head bristles need to be positioned half on tooth half on gum to be effective. Fluoride is a natural mineral that is helpful for strengthening teeth and protecting them from acid exposure from the foods and drinks we consume.

Clean between your teeth daily with dental floss to remove plaque and bits of food from between your teeth. If your gums have pulled away from your teeth, it may be best to use smaller brushes, picks, or wider types of floss to clean between your teeth.

Your dental hygienist may also recommend regularly using a specific mouth rinse. Look for the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance on your dental care products. The ADA Seal means these products have met ADA standards for safety and effectiveness.

Book Today

If you are concerned about your gum health or if you may have gum disease, contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Gum Disease Treatment Arlington TX | (817) 303-5700