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Types of Gum Disease
In order to avoid developing gum disease, it is important to understand what gum disease is, the different severities of gum disease, and what steps are needed to address this issue.
The three primary stages of gum disease are as follows:
- Gingivitis: This is the earliest and most common type of periodontal disease, and occurs when plaque builds around the gums. Typical symptoms of gingivitis include puffy, irritated, or swollen gums. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis. Treatment typically involves a deep cleaning.
- Early Periodontitis: If the patient is not treated during the gingivitis stage, early periodontitis can occur. Typical symptoms include gums that bleed, mild to moderate bone loss, and plaque that develops below the gum line. When patients have reached this stage, additional treatments may be required, such as deep cleaning, laser therapy, or a combination of both.
- Advanced Periodontitis: The most advanced level of periodontal disease, advanced periodontitis is characterized by pockets that develop between the teeth and gums, and eventually in the jawbone, which results in jawbone loss. Treatment options at this stage include deep cleaning, laser therapy, and/or a bone graft.
Diagnosing/Treating Gum Disease
To determine if you have gum disease, your periodontist will measure the space between your teeth and gums. Patients who have pockets that are deeper than the average depth of three millimeters or less will be considered candidates for treating gum disease. If you are a candidate, your periodontist will suggest a follow up appointment, during which several different treatment options may be recommended. The most common types of treatment options for treating gum disease include:
- Deep cleaning: Provided the gum disease is in its early stage, a deep cleaning may be sufficient to reverse the damage that has occurred and reduce the likelihood of additional damage from occurring
- Scaling and root planing: A common method used to address periodontal disease. Scaling refers to the process of removing tartar that has accumulated, either on your teeth or below your gumline. Planing involves the removal of tartar below the root line.
- Surgery: For more advanced cases of gum disease, it may be necessary to perform surgery on the gums, along with regenerative procedures. Doing so can restore lost tissue and eliminate the disease.
- Bone graft: The procedure involves placing grafting material (bone from a human or animal donor or synthetic material) in the affected area to the affected teeth, which is then covered by a collagen membrane to promote growth, protect the graft, and potentially save the teeth.
Warning Signs of Gum Disease
Gum disease is typically not caught in the early stages because symptoms of the disease occur so gradually. Contact your periodontist if you notice any of the following symptoms that are commonly associated with gum disease:
- Gums that bleed easily
- Receding gums
- Periodontal abscess
- Loose teeth
- Swollen or red gums
Preventing Gum Disease
The best way to prevent gum disease from developing is to practice good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing at least once daily, and ideally every time you brush your teeth. It is also important to practice proper brushing and flossing techniques and continue scheduling regular checkups with your periodontist every six months or even more frequently, for patients who suffer from
advanced periodontal issues. By maintaining a consistent oral health care routine, you will significantly reduce your risk of developing additional periodontal issues, and will continue enjoying a bright and healthy smile for many years to come.
Cost of Treating Gum Disease
There are a range of factors that can impact the final cost of treating gum disease, such as the severity of your case, any associated procedures that will need to be performed prior to or along with this treatment, as well as your insurance plan. Our team is committed to helping you complete necessary paperwork, schedule appointments, and answer any questions you have concerning billing. For patients who have insurance plans, we do request you submit medical/dental insurance information with your New Patient Paperwork to expedite this process.
Please note: to reduce costs to our patients while still ensuring that we can provide the highest level of care, we have the following financial polices:
- We accept Discover, Visa, MasterCard, and American Express
- Full payment is due after services rendered
- Payment plan options are available via www.CareCredit.com
To determine if you have gum disease, your periodontist will measure the space between your teeth and gums. Patients who have pockets that are deeper than the average depth of three millimeters or less will be considered candidates for treating gum disease. Depending upon how severe your case is, your periodontist will suggest a follow up appointment, during which several different treatment options may be recommended.
Patients who are suffering from periodontal disease may experience gum recession. If this issue is not treated at an early stage, more complicated and serious problems can develop, as gum recession creates greater exposure of your natural teeth, which creates opportunities for bacteria to build. To address this issue, patients have historically had gum grafting, which involves removing tissue from unaffected areas and then grafting this tissue to the areas that have been affected. This is an effective method for addressing the issue of receding gums, however there is a newer and increasingly popular approach to treating receding gums, which is the Chao Pinhole Surgical Technique (PST).
Laser gum surgery is an advanced treatment option that efficiently and painlessly treats gum disease through the use of a laser. One of the unique aspects of laser gum surgery is that the laser pinpoints and kills bacteria without damaging surrounding gum tissue. Unlike other treatment options, which involve cutting and suturing, patients who have laser gum surgery and treatment performed will have a much quicker healing process.
Patients who have gum recession may consider having a gum graft, a common oral surgical procedure that thickens existing gums and/or covers a tooth root surface in order to prevent further recession from occurring. Gum recession can occur for a variety of reasons, but the most common reason is due to periodontal disease. A gum graft will not only improve the aesthetic appearance of your smile, but will also reduce your risk of developing additional issues.
Patients who have an imbalanced ratio between their visible gums and teeth have what is commonly referred to as a gummy smile. Gummy smiles can be caused by a range of factors, including bone deterioration, periodontal disease, or genetic predisposition. Regardless of the reason, patients often feel self-conscious about their appearance and will seek to improve this issue by having a gum contouring procedure performed.
Scaling and Root Planing (also known as deep teeth cleaning and deep gum cleaning) is a common method used to address periodontal disease. Scaling refers to the process of removing tartar that has accumulated, either on your teeth or below your gumline. Planing refers to the removal of tartar below the root line. When bacteria is allowed to settle on your teeth for too long, it will eventually mineralize and turn into tartar. The primary difference between plaque and tartar is that plaque can be removed by conventional brushing methods, whereas tartar will need to be removed through the efforts of your periodontist. It is important to schedule regular deep teeth cleaning and deep gum cleaning appointments to prevent periodontal disease from developing.
Schedule Your Visit Today
At ROOT™ Periodontal and Implant Center, we take your health, confidence, and teeth seriously. Scheduling regular visits to maintain your teeth and gums will actively improve your overall health, and maintaining a bright and strong healthy smile will do wonders for your self-confidence. In addition to recognizing the importance of your oral health, we also understand the importance of your time, which is why we are committed to making every visit to our clinic as efficient as possible.
If you would like to learn more about treatment options for gum disease, schedule an appointment or consultation today with our friendly, helpful staff, who can be reached at the following locations: Carrollton: (972) 242-7603; Flower Mound: (972) 434-8050; Denton: (940) 566-7021, or Frisco: (469) 489-ROOT. We look forward to serving you and your smile and having you on your way as soon as possible!