Periodontal Disease: What It Is & How We Can Treat It

Wednesday September 27, 2017 by
Melissa Brown, DDS

Periodontal disease is a serious disease that affects almost half of all US adults over the age of 30. However, it isn’t a foregone conclusion you’ll develop it once you hit middle age. Learn how we can help, from simple cases to the most advanced.

What Is Periodontal Disease?
In its earliest stages, periodontal disease, or gum disease, is what we refer to as gingivitis. Typically, this mild form of gum disease causes little discomfort, although the gums may bleed or appear swollen.

Gingivitis can be reversed with good oral care and regular dental checkups—meaning you should brush twice a day for 2 minutes at a time, floss daily, and see your dentist for a checkup every 6 months.

If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis or advanced gum disease. During this stage, gums begin to separate from teeth, forming pockets that become infected. These pockets deepen over time, ultimately destroying gum tissue and bone while loosening teeth. As a result, teeth may need to be removed.

How Is Periodontal Disease Treated?
There are several methods for treating periodontal disease. Your doctor may recommend one of the following or suggest multiple methods to be used in conjunction with each other:

  • Scaling and Root Planing – During this procedure, tartar above and below the gum line is scraped off. Your periodontist will also remove rough spots on the tooth root where germs gather.
  • Flap Surgery – During flap surgery, gums are lifted back so tartar can be removed. Then, gums are sutured back into place to fit snugly around the teeth.
  • Bone and Tissue Grafts – During a bone graft, natural or synthetic bone is placed in the area of bone loss, promoting bone growth. With tissue grafting, synthetic material or tissue taken from another area of your mouth is used to cover exposed tooth roots.
  • Dental Implants – one or more teeth need to be removed due to advanced periodontal disease, dental implants are often recommended to replace these missing teeth.

What Services Can a Periodontist Provide that a Dentist Can’t?
For moderate to severe cases of periodontal disease, dentists will typically refer patients to a periodontist. However, at Murray Hill Dental, we’re pleased to have Dr. Levy on staff, a periodontist with several years of experience treating advanced cases of periodontal disease. This means that our patients benefit from having both Dr. Brown and Dr. Levy available for their specific dental needs.

Dr. Brown can treat less severe cases of gum disease by scaling and root planing as well as recommending special at-home treatment plans, like the use of prescription toothpaste, electronic toothbrushes, or other at home dental electronics.

Dr. Levy is available for more advanced cases of gum disease, which might require surgery or tissue grafts. Unlike other dentists that would have to refer these cases out to an external periodontist office, Murray Hill Dental can take care of all periodontal needs at our office, providing another layer of convenience and consistency to our patients.

If you would like to make an appointment with Dr. Levy to treat your periodontal disease or are due for a regular checkup to prevent gum disease, we encourage you to contact us today!