9191 Pinecroft Dr Suite 180 The Woodlands, TX 77380
Gum Disease Therapy
Gum Disease Therapy in The Woodlands, TX
Periodontal (gum) disease begins when bacterial growth in your mouth causes inflammation. Inflammation can progress to tissue destruction surrounding the teeth and will result in tooth loss if not properly treated. There are different types of gum disease.
Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. It causes the gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort at this stage. Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care.
Factors that may contribute to gingivitis include, diabetes, smoking, aging, genetic predisposition, systemic diseases and conditions, stress, inadequate nutrition, puberty, hormonal fluctuations, pregnancy, substance abuse, HIV infection, and certain medication use.
Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. The toxins stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body in essence turns on itself, and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. Gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Often, this destructive process has very mild symptoms. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.
There are many forms of periodontitis. The most common ones include the following.
Aggressive periodontitis occurs in patients who are otherwise clinically healthy. Common features include rapid attachment loss and bone destruction and familial aggregation.
Chronic periodontitis results in inflammation within the supporting tissues of the teeth, progressive attachment and bone loss. This is the most frequently occurring form of periodontitis and is characterized by pocket formation and/or recession of the gingiva. It is prevalent in adults, but can occur at any age. Progression of attachment loss usually occurs slowly, but periods of rapid progression can occur.
Periodontitis as a manifestation of systemic diseases often begins at a young age. Systemic conditions such as heart disease, respiratory disease, and diabetes are associated with this form of periodontitis.
Necrotizing periodontal disease is an infection characterized by necrosis of gingival tissues, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. These lesions are most commonly observed in individuals with systemic conditions such as HIV infection, malnutrition and immunosuppression.
What is the treatment for gum disease?
First and foremost, your Dr. Stewart will recommend behavioral changes. Dental plaque is the main cause of periodontal disease, and it must be removed on a daily basis. New oral hygiene habits must be formed like daily flossing and brushing. Certain lifestyle changes should also occur such as cessation of smoking.
In addition to personal care of teeth, professional cleanings are needed as well. The hygienist will work with you to develop a cleaning plan. A dental hygienist will need to periodically perform cleanings to remove deposits of calcified plaque called calculus or tartar and other bacterial toxins from your teeth’s surfaces and roots.
Dr. Stewart will reevaluate your gum health after three or four weeks of consistent behavioral changes in oral hygiene and any other prescribed lifestyle changes. In early or mild cases, conservative therapy will be sufficient to return the gums back to a healthy state.
If any bite disorders are present, occlusal bite therapy might be required. This treatment can begin during therapy or after gum inflammation has been reduced. Occlusal bite therapy addresses issues like loose teeth, clenching, grinding and may include orthodontic (tooth movement) treatment.
Surgical treatment may be required for severe cases of periodontal disease. Periodontal surgical treatment today encompasses a variety of sophisticated plastic surgical procedures. These include techniques to repair and regenerate soft (gingival) and hard (bony) tissues and replace missing teeth with dental implants. Most procedures are performed with local anesthesia (numbing of the gum/periodontal tissues). The objective of surgery is generally to eliminate pockets, regenerate attachment and return the patient to more normal function and esthetics, while generally providing an environment more conducive to oral hygiene and maintenance care.