The Stages of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease (also known as gum disease) occurs when oral bacteria collect along the gum line, causing inflammation, bleeding, and tenderness in the gums.
This disease starts as gingivitis. During this initial stage, plaque or bacteria accumulate on your teeth, causing a gum infection.
If you have gingivitis, the inflammation leads to any combination of these symptoms:
- Gums that bleed, especially during and after brushing or flossing
- Persistent bad breath and/or a bad taste in the mouth
- Red, swollen or sore gums
- Receding gums
- Tooth sensitivity
If periodontal disease is identified and treated in this stage, you avoid any permanent damage. However, left untreated, periodontal disease progresses to periodontitis. By now, your mouth has sustained irreversible damage. Pockets form below the gums, referred to as perio pockets, that become breeding grounds for the infected bacteria. Without professional dental treatments and good oral hygiene, perio pockets expand and may lead to tooth loss by deteriorating the supporting bone structure.
How Lake Forest Smiles Treats Gum Disease
If you have gum disease, brushing and flossing alone is not enough to manage the infection. Without professional dental treatments, gum disease worsens and may lead to complete tooth loss.
At Lake Forest Dentistry, our program of periodontal treatment includes any combination of the following methods:
- Repetitive Therapy – A dentist or hygienist must remove the plaque (a bacterial biofilm) and calculus (hardened plaque) from below your teeth and below the gums. Repetitive therapy consists of a combination of scaling and root planing, which is essentially a deep cleaning of your teeth and under the gum line that is performed at recommended intervals.
- Soft Tissue Laser – Using a precise dental laser, we vaporize the infected gum tissue. Performing this procedure with a laser means less discomfort, bleeding, and risk of infection compared to traditional surgical means. Our Laser Assisted Regeneration technology (LANAP laser) is cleared by the FDA and proven to regenerate jawbone and gum tissue reattachment.
- Arestin – This antibiotic powder is applied directly to your gums, usually in combination with repetitive therapy. This targeted therapy is proven to fight harmful oral bacteria for up to one month after application. Without Arestin, gum disease bacteria may resurface within a few days after a deep cleaning.
- Perio Protect – This FDA-approved treatment allows patients to manage their gum disease between professional treatments. Custom made trays are designed to fit over your teeth, similar to a teeth whitening tray, to deliver a patented medication directly to your gums, fighting bacteria that are responsible for gum disease.
Drs. Douglas Campbell and David Schmidt treat gum disease with the individual patient in mind. Some patients may benefit from at-home treatments, while others may experience better results by receiving a combination of in-office and at-home periodontal therapies. To find out the best option for managing your gum disease, and protect your oral health for the long haul, contact Lake Forest Smiles today.
Your Risk for Gum Disease
Certain behaviors and conditions can increase your vulnerability to the disease, such as:
- Genetics (particularly a family history of gum disease)
- Excessive stress
- Taking steroids, blood pressure medications or cancer-fighting medications
Pregnant women also face a higher risk of developing gum disease due to hormonal changes in the body. Periodontal disease increases your risk of other health problems as well, potentially doubling your chance of developing heart disease.
Treating Periodontal Disease in Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Lincolnshire
Gum disease affects half of the adults in the U.S., is responsible for many health problems, and can completely wreck your smile. To learn more about ways to prevent gum disease, or how to manage it with proper oral care, contact Lake Forest Smiles today by calling (847) 234-4800 or schedule an appointment today. At Lake Forest Smiles, we believe that a healthy mouth means a healthy life. Drs. Campbell and Schmidt have been providing elite dental care to the communities of Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Lincolnshire for more than 30 years. We welcome you to our practice.