Periodontal Therapy An Overview
The prompt and effective treatment of gum disease is the goal of periodontal therapy. Dr. O’Malley and the team at O’Malley Dental in Simpsonville provide personalized dental care for restoring and maintaining gum health. This is an important component of your overall oral health and physical well being.
According to the CDC, roughly half of all Americans suffer from some stage of periodontal disease. Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is chronic inflammation of the gums caused by over-accumulation of normally harmless bacteria in the mouth. If left unchecked, bacteria and gum disease can lead to tooth decay and tooth loss. With regular visits to the dentist, any signs of gum disease will be addressed and treated accordingly.
Healthy gums support healthy teeth.
Studies have consistently shown that the state of your gum and oral health can directly impact your risk for certain types of disease, or the severity of your symptoms. The gums serve as a barrier between the harmful bacteria present in your mouth and the bloodstream. Your gums reduce internal inflammation and the chance of infection. Routine dental care and daily oral hygiene that includes brushing and flossing is the foundation of long term dental health as supported by gums that are free of disease.
Gum disease is a progressive disease. Left untreated, it can lead to a range of complex dental concerns, including tooth loss. Dr. O’Malley screens for the signs of gum disease during your preventive dental care visits. Our team will work with you to address any lifestyle habits or medical conditions that may impact the health of your gums.
Common Signs of Gum Disease
If you notice any developing signs of gum disease, schedule a visit or discuss your concerns at your next appointment. Early intervention often allows conservative treatments to be more effective.
- Bleeding gums
- Red, swollen gums
- Changes in the fit of the bite or dentures
- Loose teeth, shifting teeth
- Persistent bad breath, halitosis
Periodontal Therapy What to Expect
During your visit, Dr. O’Malley will screen for the signs of gum disease. He will ask you about your medical history, lifestyle habits and prescribed medications in an effort to provide the most personalized dental care. We will also make individualized recommendations for at-home oral hygiene to maintain healthy gums between visits.
Gum disease has two distinct stages, each characterized by specific signs and symptoms. Dr. O’Malley will discuss findings and offer treatments designed to restore healthy gums, stabilize your oral health, and provide guidance for long term maintenance.
Treatment options can include:
- Antibacterial rinses: for gingivitis and patients considered at risk for gum disease, an antibacterial rinse to be used with a daily hygiene routine may be sufficient.
- Scaling and root planing: if gum disease has progressed, all oral surfaces will be thoroughly cleaned to remove bacteria. This allows gum tissue to heal.
- Oral surgery: for advanced gum disease and cases where extensive damage has occurred, Dr. O’Malley may coordinate your care with a local specialist.
Post Treatment Oral Care Tips
If you have any questions or concerns, please call our office.
If you are undergoing a root planing or periodontal therapy procedure, here are some tips for recovery and maintenance of your newly restored gums:
- After the procedure, take aspirin, Tylenol (acetaminophen), or Advil (ibuprofen) before the anesthetic wears off. Continue to take one tablet every four hours for the next two days.
- Rinse with a warm salt-water solution (mix ½ teaspoon salt in 8 oz. warm water) two or three times an hour for the next day or two.
- Use a soft toothbrush at least two times a day. Be gentle and clean thoroughly. Slight bleeding may occur while brushing as the tissues begin to heal.
- Avoid strong spicy seasonings, and hard “chippy” foods for the next few days.
- As the tissues heal, some sensitivity to cold may occur. Use a desensitizing toothpaste (such as Sensodyne or Denquil), or fluoride gel (such as Prevident or Gel-Kam) frequently (at least 4 times/day) for 1 to 2 weeks. Also, the cleaner the teeth are kept, the less sensitive they will be.
- Faithfully use any other oral hygiene aids that have been recommended (floss, Perio-Aid, rubber tip, Sonicare, Proxabrush, Gel-Kam fluoride, Peridex mouthrinse, etc).
- Refrain from smoking for 24 hours or longer. Tobacco interferes with healing.
It may be necessary to combine your root planing procedure with the use of Arestin, an intraoral anti-bacterial placed by your dentist during the procedure. Arestin is not taken orally, it is a material that supplies time-released antibiotic treatment to the healing and developing gums after the treatment. If you are being treated with Arestin, the following are suggested care procedures after your treatment:
- Avoid touching the treated areas.
- Wait 12 hours after your treatment before brushing teeth.
- Wait 10 days before using floss, toothpicks, or other devices designed to clean between the treated teeth.
- Avoid foods for 1 week that could hurt your gums.
- Don’t chew gum or eat sticky foods.
After 10 days, resume cleaning between the treated teeth on a daily basis.
Remember, you must do your part. If you don’t brush at least 2 times per day and floss every day, then any dental treatment of your gum disease will not work effectively.