Periodontics and Gum Disease
Periodontic treatment or periodontics is specialty dental care that addresses periodontal (gum) disease and is available at Authentic Smiles in Austin.
Unchecked, gum disease can destroy the gums, tissue, and bones that hold your teeth in place. A periodontist is a dentist with extra training to diagnose and treat periodontal disease and perform cosmetic periodontal procedures.
At Authentic Smiles we recommend periodontal treatment if you:
- Have gum disease
- Need bone grafting, soft tissue grafting, or tissue sculpting
- Need a tooth extraction
- Have had a dental implant treatment
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
Plaque, a sticky biofilm of bacteria, is constantly forming on teeth. Periodontal disease typically results from inadequate dental hygiene, which allows plaque buildup on your teeth and under the gums, and on the roots. Untreated plaque hardens into tartar or calculus, which only professional cleaning can remove.
You might not be aware of periodontal disease in its initial stages. The CDC estimates that 47% of adults in the U.S. ages 30 and older have some form of gum disease. Periodontal disease progresses with age, too, as 70% of adults ages 65 and older have it.
Advanced stages cause sore or bleeding gums, changes in the bite, and even tooth loss.
What Are My Treatment Options for Periodontal Disease?
The main goal of periodontal treatment is to remove bacteria from the gum pockets around the teeth. This helps prevent further erosion of bone and tissue. Exactly what your dentist or periodontist at Authentic Smileswill do depends on how far your gum disease has progressed.
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical, deep cleaning treatment for early-stage periodontal disease. The periodontist at Authentic Smiles removes tartar from the teeth and below the gumline with hand tools or an ultrasonic instrument.
They will also smooth rough areas on the roots of the teeth so that bacteria no longer gets trapped there. You may need local or systemic antibiotics to kill the remaining bacteria.
Scaling and cleaning may require one or more visits, depending on the buildup of plaque and tartar.
Advanced periodontal disease may require surgery such as flap surgery or bone and tissue grafting.
Flap surgery, or surgical pocket reduction, lifts the gums back to remove calculus in deep pockets. After the professional removes the tartar, they suture the gums back into place to fit more closely to the tooth. This procedure reduces or eliminates the pockets, making the area easier to clean and reducing the risk of future infections.
Bone and Tissue Grafts
Bone and tissue grafts help regenerate bone or gum tissue. A periodontist places new natural or synthetic bone where the bone was lost to help promote bone growth. With guided tissue regeneration (GTR), our periodontist places a mesh-like material between the bone and gum. This material keeps the gum from growing where the bone should be, allowing the bone to regrow correctly.
Authentic Smiles uses laser gum surgery to treat moderate to severe periodontal disease. We may recommend this procedure after scaling and planning and in place of flap surgery. Laser gum surgery may have several uses:
What Are the Telltale Signs of Periodontal Disease?
If you notice any of the following symptoms, we should check for periodontal disease:
- Bleeding or swollen gums
- Painful chewing
- Sudden tooth sensitivity
- Persistently bad breath
- Receding gums
- Shifting or loose teeth
Timely periodontal treatments are essential for protecting your dental and overall health.
How to Get the Most Effective Periodontal Treatment
If you are experiencing any of the signs of periodontal disease, contact our office today to set up your appointment for periodontal treatments in Austin.