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treat gum disease

4 Ways to Treat Periodontal Disease


Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is unfortunately quite common in American adults. Millions of people have the beginning stages of gum disease, called gingivitis, without even realizing it. Gum disease, once advanced, is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults, and researchers have linked it to serious health risks like heart disease and stroke.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease is a long-term inflammatory disease that damages the soft tissue and bone supporting the teeth. It begins when saliva and tooth surfaces host normal bacteria in the mouth that feed on what a person eats, especially food particles that remain between the teeth and along the gum line if they aren’t regularly brushed and/or flossed. This eventually turns into plaque and tartar buildup, which attracts even more bacteria.

Without strong oral hygiene practices, including brushing, flossing and two professional cleanings at your dentist’s office each year, the bacteria will continue to feed and grow, eventually creating pockets and channels that allow the bacteria to travel further down a tooth’s surface. Gums can then start receding, paving the way for the bacteria to cover the entire surface of the teeth and reach their root pocket. This causes infection and weakens the tooth’s roots, ultimately leading to tooth loss.

What are the symptoms of gum disease?

If you’re wondering if you may be one of the millions of people with gum disease, take a look at the following list of symptoms:

  • Swollen, dark red and/or bleeding gums
  • A pink tinge in your toothpaste when you’re brushing your teeth
  • Bad breath that isn’t caused by potent foods/beverages and doesn’t go away after brushing
  • Receding and/or tender gums

Can gum disease be prevented or cured?

The great news is that, yes, all gum disease can be prevented. And if it has already started to develop, our professional dental team at Lake Forest Smiles is trained and specialized to treat it to give your gums and teeth a fresh new start.

How can gum disease be treated?

How gum disease is treated depends on the severity of the case. Dentists and periodontists have several ways to treat gum disease without having to resort to surgery. Let’s take a look at four:

  1. Professional cleaning

The most critical cornerstone of healthy gums and teeth is proper oral hygiene, including brushing teeth twice a day, flossing daily and visiting a dentist twice a year for a checkup and cleaning. During checkups, providers scrape plaque and tartar off the teeth. Many people who have gingivitis can see it reversed with professional cleanings and improved oral hygiene at home.

  1. Scaling and root planing

Also called a “deep clean,” the dentist or periodontist uses special instruments and techniques to gently scrape away bacteria, plaque and tartar deposits deep beneath the gum line, down to the roots. This procedure, which may require more than one appointment, helps clean plaque and tartar above and below the gum line. The dentist or periodontist will also smooth any rough surfaces on the teeth to prevent bacteria and plaque from reattaching to those areas.

  1. Antibiotic therapy

Your dentist or periodontist may use antibiotics as a stand-alone treatment or combined with other cleaning procedures to treat gum disease. Topical antibiotic medications can be professionally placed in the periodontal pocket, or the space between your gums and teeth.

  1. Laser treatment

Until recently, dentists and periodontists have treated the worst cases of advanced gum disease, or periodontitis, with surgery. But at Lake Forest Smiles, our gum disease specialist Dr. Tracey Hughes is trained to treat periodontitis with a new, groundbreaking procedure called Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP) — a cutting-edge laser technology to treat advanced gum disease quicker and with less associated pain than traditional surgery. LANAP incorporates ultrasound scalers instead of traditional scalpels to remove tartar build-up, and it uses laser instead of sutures to stimulate the soft tissue, bone and root to regenerate and reattach to the gums of the teeth.

Gum Disease Treatment in Lake Forest, IL

If you believe you have any stage of gum disease — from mild to severe — give our Lake Forest Smiles office a call at (847) 234-4800 to schedule a consultation today.

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