Conveniently located to serve Arlington, Alexandria, and Washington DC
Gums are the foundation of a smile. They hold teeth in place and keep them healthy. Gingivitis and periodontal disease threatens a healthy smile, eventually leading to tooth loss if left untreated.
SKS Dental offers periodontics in Arlington. We treat patients with gingivitis or advanced periodontitis with a conservative approach.
Improve Your Overall Health
Gum disease is an infectious dental issue that damages soft and hard tissue over time. Many that have the early stage of gum disease, gingivitis, do not know they have it, making this a dangerous disease that often goes unnoticed.
Symptoms of Gum disease include:
- Bleeding gums
- Tenderness or Pain
After gum disease has progressed to periodontal disease, it can harm the underlying bone and cause teeth to loosen. Eventually, infection can lead to the need for root canals or even extractions.
Periodontal disease begins when the toxins found in plaque start to attack the soft or gingival tissue surrounding the teeth. This bacterium embeds itself in the gum and rapidly breeds, causing a bacterial infection. As the infection progresses, it starts to burrow deeper into the tissue causing inflammation or irritation between the teeth and gums. The response of the body is to destroy the infected tissue, which is why the gums appear to recede. The resulting pockets between the teeth deepen and, if no treatment is sought, the tissue which makes up the jawbone also recedes causing unstable teeth and tooth loss.
Types of Periodontal Disease
There are many different varieties of periodontal disease, and many ways in which these variations manifest themselves. All require immediate treatment by a periodontist to halt the progression and save the gum tissue and bone.
Here are some of the most common types of periodontal disease along with the treatments typically performed to correct them:
Gingivitis is the mildest and most common form of periodontitis. It is caused by the toxins in plaque and leads to periodontal disease. People at increased risk of developing gingivitis include pregnant women, women taking birth control pills, people with uncontrolled diabetes, steroid users and people who control seizures and blood pressure using medication.
How to Treat Gingivitis
Gingivitis is easily reversible using a solid combination of home care and professional cleaning. The dentist may perform root planing and deep scaling procedures to cleanse the pockets of debris. A combination of antibiotics and medicated mouthwashes may be used to kill any remaining bacteria and promote the good healing of the pockets.
Chronic Periodontal Disease
Chronic periodontal disease is the most common form of the disease, and occurs much more frequently in people over 45. Chronic periodontal disease is characterized by inflammation below the gum line and the progressive destruction of the gingival and bone tissue. It may appear that the teeth are gradually growing in length, but in actuality the gums are gradually recessing.
How to Treat Chronic Periodontal Disease
Unfortunately unlike gingivitis, chronic periodontal disease cannot be completely cured because the supportive tissue cannot be rebuilt. However, the dentist can halt the progression of the disease using scaling and root planing procedures in combination with antimicrobial treatments. If necessary, the periodontist can perform surgical treatments such as pocket reduction surgery and also tissue grafts to strengthen the bone and improve the aesthetic appearance of the oral cavity.
Aggressive Periodontal Disease
Aggressive periodontal disease is characterized by the rapid loss of gum attachment, the rapid loss of bone tissue and familial aggregation. The disease itself is essentially the same as chronic periodontitis but the progression is much faster. Smokers and those with a family history of this disease are at an increased risk of developing aggressive periodontitis.
How To Treat Aggressive Gum Disease
The treatments for aggressive periodontal disease are the same as those for chronic periodontal disease, but aggressive periodontal disease sufferers are far more likely to require a surgical intervention. This form of the disease is harder to halt and treat, but the dentist will perform scaling, root planing, antimicrobial, and in some cases laser procedures in an attempt to save valuable tissue and bone.
Periodontal Disease Relating to Systemic Conditions
Periodontal disease can be a symptom of a disease or condition affecting the rest of the body. Depending on the underlying condition, the disease can behave like aggressive periodontal disease, working quickly to destroy tissue. Heart disease, diabetes and respiratory disease are the most common cofactors, though there are many others. Even in cases where little plaque coats the teeth, many medical conditions intensify and accelerate the progression of periodontal disease.
Treating Gum Disease Due To Medical Condition
Initially, the medical condition which caused the onset of periodontal disease must be controlled. The dentist will halt the progression of the disease using the same treatments used for controlling aggressive and chronic periodontal disease.
Necrotizing Periodontal Disease
This form of the disease rapidly worsens and is more prevalent among people who suffer from HIV, immunosuppression, malnutrition, chronic stress or choose to smoke. Tissue death (necrosis) frequently affects the periodontal ligament, gingival tissues and alveolar bone.
Treating Necrotizing Periodontal Disease
Treatment: Necrotizing periodontal disease is extremely rare. Because it may be associated with HIV or another serious medical condition, it is likely the dentist will consult with a physician before commencing treatment. Scaling, root planing, antibiotic pills, medicated mouth wash and fungicidal medicines are generally used to treat this form of the disease.
Diagnosing Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adult dental patients and should be taken seriously. Many patients with this condition do not know it until symptoms progress to advanced stages of disease.
Before you begin the following self-test, it’s important to know that, in general, women are at greater risk for developing periodontal disease because of hormone changes during puberty, pregnancy and menopause. The chances of developing periodontal disease also increase with age. If you smoke, you should be aware that you may experience slower healing, deeper gum pockets, faster bone loss and more calculus (tartar) deposits on the teeth than non-smokers.
This self-test is not intended as a substitute for dental advice or a comprehensive periodontal assessment. Instead, being able to identify common risk factors related to gum disease helps individuals understand the importance of seeking an evaluation by their dental health professional.
Do your teeth and gums bleed during brushing and flossing?
- Bleeding is one of the most common general symptoms of periodontal disease. Unexplained bleeding while brushing and flossing teeth is a sure sign something is amiss and needs prompt attention by a health professional.
Do you have loose or wobbly teeth?
- Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria that infect soft tissue and damage supporting structures around teeth over time. As bone and soft tissue are compromised due to infection, the teeth become less firmly attached and may wobble, shift or fall out completely.
Are your teeth suddenly looking longer?
- Gum recession is a highly visible warning sign of periodontal disease. If teeth appear longer than before, gums may be receding as bacteria and debris deepen periodontal pockets around teeth. While some gum recession is expected as we age, soft tissue problems resulting from periodontal disease cause significant and quick recession.
Do you suffer from other health conditions?
- Heart disease, high stress, diabetes, osteoporosis and osteopenia are all linked to periodontal disease. Medications taken for these illnesses can also render the gums more sensitive to bacteria commonly found in the mouth.
Does anyone in your family have periodontal disease?
- Despite a rigorous oral hygiene routine, 30% of the population may be genetically predisposed to developing gum disease. Periodontal disease can also be spread through bacteria found in saliva. When saliva is passed through common contact, couples and children are at additional risk for gum disease.
Have you had previous gum problems?
- A personal history of gum problems, such as general soft tissue irritation and inflammation, increases the risk of advanced periodontal disease six fold.
Preventing Periodontal Disease
Daily brushing and flossing reduces amounts of harmful oral bacteria and keeps calculus formation to a minimum. However, periodontal disease can progress without any noticeable symptoms, so it is essential to get a dental check-up and professional cleaning twice a year. This professional cleaning removes tartar and assists in maintaining better gum health over time.
If you have completed the self-test and found yourself to be at risk or have more questions regarding periodontal disease, please ask your oral health professional about treatment for soft tissue infection and how to prevent additional gum problems.
Arlington Gum Disease Treatment Process
Periodontal treatment methods depend upon the type and severity of the disease. Your dentist and dental hygienist will evaluate for periodontal disease and recommend the appropriate treatment.
Periodontal disease progresses as the sulcus (pocket or space) between the tooth and gums gets filled with bacteria, plaque, and tartar, causing irritation to the surrounding tissues. When these irritants remain in the pocket space, they can cause damage to the gums and eventually, the bone that supports the teeth!
If the disease is caught in the early stages of gingivitis, and no damage has been done, one to two regular cleanings will be recommended. You will also be given instructions on improving your daily oral hygiene habits and having regular dental cleanings.
Periodontal Scaling and Root Planing
If the disease has progressed to more advanced stages, a special periodontal cleaning called scaling and root planing(deep cleaning) will be recommended. It is usually done one quadrant of the mouth at a time while the area is numb. In this procedure, tartar, plaque, and toxins are removed from above and below the gum line (scaling) and rough spots on root surfaces are made smooth (planing). This procedure helps gum tissue to heal and pockets to shrink. Medications, special medicated mouth rinses, and an electric tooth brush may be recommended to help control infection and healing.
Pocket Reduction Surgery
If the pockets do not heal after scaling and root planing, periodontal surgery may be needed to reduce pocket depths, making teeth easier to clean. Your dentist may also recommend that you see a periodontist (specialist of the gums and supporting bone).
Contact Our Practice To Schedule A Periodontal Exam
Our team works hard to keep Arlington smiling. We provide preventive and advanced periodontal therapy, helping patients restore their oral health and improve their smiles.
Call our practice today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Smita Sabharwal for an examination and to explore your options for care.
I really appreciated my visits with Dr.Sabharwal. She was extremely patient and even better she has small hands to get into those far places into your mouth. My dental insurance did not cover the needed dental work but I found the dental care with in my budget. SKS Dental accommodated my schedule as well. I never waited more than five minutes for my appointment and Dr. Sabharwal was kind enough to meet me when I was available. I highly recommend Dr. Sabharwal to anyone who is searching for a professional, competent and warm-hearted dentist.