You do your best to take care of your mouth at home, with regular brushing and flossing, but sometimes, even routine care is not enough. When you are faced with gum disease (periodontal disease), your oral health is in jeopardy. At National Dental Upper East Side, we offer multiple services to help keep your periodontal health at its best.
Gum disease is a progressive condition. Oral bacteria, which feed on food particles and sugars in your mouth, multiply quickly when not properly removed. They attack your sensitive gum tissue, causing irritation and inflammation. Your gums may bleed when you brush or floss. When your gums are inflamed, the tissue, which otherwise sits snug against your teeth, begins to pull away, creating pockets. Bacteria fall into these pockets and begin to attack your jawbone and the periodontal ligaments that support your teeth. Your gums recede, and your teeth become loose. Eventually, your teeth may even fall out.
Professional cleanings, once every six months, are essential for preventing gum disease. During your cleaning, we remove plaque, tartar (hardened plaque that cannot be removed by brushing) and bacteria. If we notice any early signs of gum disease (known as gingivitis), we may recommend extra cleanings throughout the year, which can help to clear up gingivitis before it progresses.
Scaling and root planing are a deep cleaning procedure, done when gum disease has progressed beyond gingivitis. Scaling involves the use a specialized scaling tool, which removes plaque and tartar buildup from all surfaces of your teeth, including between them and just below the gum line. Root planing involves smoothing the surface of your tooth roots, removing plaque, bacteria and other toxins. A smooth surface makes it difficult for new bacteria to adhere. An antimicrobial wash is administered below the gums to kill off any lingering bacteria.
Laser treatment is often used before scaling and root planing. A laser is used to remove infected gum tissue, which provides us with easier access to your teeth to complete the deep cleaning of your teeth and their roots. The use of the laser has replaced the scalpel, providing a less invasive, less painful procedure.
Pocket reduction surgery is a surgical procedure that allows us to properly clean your teeth so that the gums can reattach properly to your teeth. After a local anesthetic is administered, incisions are made in the gum tissue. We pull back the gums, which provide us with access to the roots of your teeth. After your teeth are cleaned, the gums are then sutured back against your teeth.
Gum disease can lead to gum recession. When your gums have receded, you can face loose teeth, a higher risk for cavities, and sensitivity. Soft tissue grafts restore your gums. The tissue is taken from elsewhere in your body (usually the roof of your mouth) and stitched over the exposed areas of your teeth. As you heal, the tissues fuse together, and form snugly around your teeth, creating a protective seal.
When gum disease is serious, your jawbone can suffer as well. As bacteria attack, your jawbone weakens. This can lead to loose teeth and even tooth loss. A bone graft involves taking bone material (natural or synthetic) and placing it in areas of weakness. Your bone grows with, or around, the graft, restoring strength and form to your jaw as it does.
Periodontal care is not only important for your oral health but for your overall health as well. Call National Dental Upper East Side today at (646) 736-2206 for more information and to schedule your consultation.