If you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease (gum disease), you are not alone. A 1999 study published by the Center for Disease Control found that over 50 percent of adults over age 30 had gingivitis. Fortunately, with proper care, the disease is treatable. At Aesthetic Smiles of New Jersey, we have an experienced, in-house periodontist to provide exceptional periodontal treatment for patients in Morristown and throughout North New Jersey. Drs. Romano and Bizzarro provide complete periodontal therapy (short of surgery), using the most advanced technology to make your treatment as comfortable and effective as possible.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is the infection of the gums and jawbone by bacteria in built-up plaque. The infection gradually corrodes the gums and jawbone. The disease follows a progression, beginning with gingivitis (in which the bacteria begin to weaken the gum tissues) and progressing to full-blown periodontitis (characterized by recession of the gums and formation of periodontal pockets around the tooth). Although gum disease can necessitate the removal of the tooth or teeth if left untreated, the disease is treatable in its earliest stages. If you are experiencing the symptoms of periodontal disease (red, swollen, puffy gums; bleeding of the gums; loose teeth; bad breath; or changes in bite), contact Aesthetic Smiles of New Jersey in Morristown right away. Our periodontist will consult with you to determine the best treatment for halting the progression of the disease.
Periodontal Treatment Options
When efforts to prevent periodontal disease fail, our dentists provide complete periodontal treatment (short of surgery). The treatment recommended for you by our periodontist will depend on how far the disease has progressed. Treatment options include:
Scaling and Root Planing – Deep Cleaning Treatments
Scaling and root planing remove accumulated tartar and prevent future buildup. A local anesthetic is administered prior to treatment to prevent discomfort. Scaling involves the removal of plaque from the tooth below the gumline using a tiny metal tool. Once the tartar is cleared away, root planing is performed to smooth the root of the tooth, making it difficult for plaque to adhere to its surface. These techniques allow a dentist to completely clean the infected area so that it may heal.
After scaling and root planing, we may administer antibiotics if the gums or jawbone are badly infected. We use Arestin®, a highly effective antibiotic employed specifically for gum disease. Arestin® is an antibiotic powder that is applied to periodontal pockets to kill bacteria. The antibiotic is effective for up to 21 days after scaling and root planing.
Diode Laser Contouring and Sterilization
Sometimes, in order for the gums to heal, it is helpful to sterilize or eliminate diseased gum tissue. Laser dentistry makes these gum treatments more comfortable than ever before. Instead of the scalpel and sutures used in the past, we use a Diode laser to treat the tissue. The laser minimizes bleeding and discomfort and promotes quicker recovery.
Many people are affected by gums that are too prominent along the teeth, making the teeth appear short and giving the appearance of a “gummy smile.” Our in-house periodontist is highly experienced with procedures designed to recontour and reshape the gums, ultimately reducing excess gum tissue to reveal more of the teeth. Gum lifting can create a more symmetrical appearance between the gums and the teeth, which can have a positive effect on the look of your smile. This procedure can also be effective at restoring the appearance of the gums after dental implants have been placed, and following the removal of braces. Gum recontouring and lifting procedures can be performed with a state-of-the-art laser, which results in little to no discomfort during treatment.
Bacterial infections in the gums often lead to gum recession, exposing more of the teeth and weakening your mouth’s defenses against further damage. Severe infections, gum recession, and the risks to teeth and underlying bone structure cannot be reversed with improved dental hygiene habits, and some type of gum surgery will be necessary to restore periodontal health. Our doctor can perform a gum grafting procedure to address these issues and renew both the health and appearance of your gums. During gum grafting treatment, donor tissue (typically taken from the roof of your mouth) will be transferred to the areas severely affected by gum recession. Over time, the gum grafts will seal themselves to the gum and cover exposed roots, ultimately leading to a healthier-looking set of teeth and gums. This procedure can also be helpful for patients who have sensitivity to hot and cold food and beverages.
Periodontal (Gum) Disease FAQS
Drs. Ed Romano and Robert Bizzarro and our in-house periodontist believe education is key to maintaining oral health. The following answers to some frequently asked questions about gum disease offer information on what you can do to reduce your risks of developing the condition, as well as how it can be treated.
Q: What preventative measures can I take to avoid periodontal disease?
A: Brushing and flossing everyday, as well as routine visits to the dentist for teeth and gum cleanings can help prevent gum disease and infection.
Q: How do I know if I am properly cleaning my teeth?
A: Basic guidelines include gently brushing the entire area of your teeth (especially where the gums and teeth meet), and flossing between every tooth. When you visit your dentist for regular cleanings, it is always a good idea to ask him or her if you are brushing and flossing correctly.
Q: How can I distinguish between gingivitis and periodontal disease symptoms?
A: Gingivitis is actually an early form of periodontal disease so the symptoms will be very similar. When you notice signs such as irritated and bleeding gums, increased gaps between your teeth and gums, and changes in your bite, you should not hesitate to visit a qualified dentist as initial symptoms can progress into more serious issues.
Q: What can periodontal disease lead to if left untreated?
A: Perhaps the most noticeable issue gum disease can lead to is the actual loss of teeth. The gums and jawbone can decay so far that they can no longer support and hold onto your teeth. Research is also being conducted to determine whether or not there is a correlation between gum disease and an increased risk of heart disease. So far, no conclusive evidence has been uncovered; however, inflammation in the gums can increase inflammation throughout the body, therefore potentially affecting the heart.
Q: What should I do if I have been diagnosed with gum disease?
A: You should visit a periodontist, such as Dr. Ed Romano, to discuss what treatments will best treat your particular case. If your gum disease is caught early, simply receiving a thorough cleaning from dentist or hygienist to remove plaque and tartar can be very beneficial towards starting the healing process. For more advanced cases, your periodontist will help you determine a proper course of action based on the severity of the disease. Effective treatments often include scaling and root planing (combined with antibiotics), as well as certain laser dentistry techniques.