Do you want your teeth to last the rest of your life? If so, you’ll need to keep your gums clean and free of infection. Otherwise you could develop periodontal disease (which is commonly known as gum disease). As a result, the gums will become red and swollen, and the support for your teeth will gradually be destroyed. To avoid a worst-case scenario, Drs. Rutledge, Le, Bradley, and Killeen can create a treatment plan for fighting the infection and giving the mouth a chance to heal itself. Call Pioneer Periodontics & Implant Dentistry today to schedule an appointment for periodontal therapy in Lincoln, NE.
Since gum disease often develops silently, you might not realize how severe it is or how far it has already advanced. Before we can create a plan, we need to perform a proper diagnosis to figure out the extent of the infection and the damage that your mouth has already suffered. This process often involves checking for plaque and calculus (tartar) build-up and measuring the depth of pockets in your gums. (There are natural spaces between the tissues and the teeth but the deeper pockets form when the tissue starts to pull away from the teeth; deep pockets generally point to periodontitis, an advanced form of gum disease.)
Following assessment of your oral cavity, a periodontal diagnosis will be given and treatment recommended based on the diagnosis. Treating gum disease does not have to be a complex undertaking. In fact, many times gingivitis can be stopped with a thorough cleaning, also known as a dental prophylaxis. We’ll check your teeth for plaque, tartar, and other debris that you may not have been able to remove with a standard brushing and flossing routine. Thanks to our periodontists’ attention to detail, we can catch this buildup before any further damage occurs. If periodontitis is diagnosed, initial treatment may include non-surgical scaling and root planing. Scaling & root planing are two procedures typically performed together focusing on cleaning not only the area above the gums but also the area below the gum line along the root surfaces of the teeth. Scaling allows removal of plaque and calculus (tartar) on the tooth structure. Root planing removes the layers of the root surface where bacteria have embedded to obtain a smooth tooth structure to minimize further bacterial penetration and reattachment. By reducing the etiological factors for periodontitis, stability of the periodontium can be attained.
Non-surgical scaling and root planing is completed by tactile sensation with no direct visualization of the tooth structure. However, to give us a clear visualization of the root structure to ensure an accurate, thorough cleaning, a perioscope can be utilized during the procedures. The perioscope is a miniature camera which is inserted into the periodontal pocket throughout the scaling and root planing to give us a clear visualization of the root to ensure removal of plaque, calculus and/or any other etiological factors that might contribute to bacterial accumulation.
Even after the source of the gum infection is removed, the damage to the tissue will already be done. To help the mouth heal and regain its normal form and function, we can perform a minimally invasive surgical procedure to reshape the gums. Note that this is not a solution for gum disease; rather, the long-term goal of the treatment is to reverse any tissue loss that has occurred and give your teeth the best chance of survival.
Leaving gum disease untreated for too long will result in the destruction of the supporting tissue and bone around the teeth, causing pockets to develop. To eliminate these pockets and preserve your natural smile, we might recommend osseous surgery to remove infected or diseased tissue from the area and reshape the bone. This creates a better environment for healing. Furthermore, you’ll have a much easier time brushing and flossing effectively when you don’t have deep pockets to worry about.
As dangerous as gum disease is, it’s far from the only oral health issue that you need to worry about. Oral cancer usually manifests on the gums (and other soft tissues in your mouth) in the form of a discolored patch or an unusual lump. Drs. Rutledge, Le, Bradley, and Killeen can check for abnormalities in your mouth that might indicate the presence of oral cancer. If an abnormality is detected, they can complete a biopsy to determine the definitive diagnosis for the abnormality. Identifying the disease early is usually crucial for giving you the best chance of survival.