One main reason why many of our new patients visit us at Arden Dental Center is unidentified advanced periodontal (gum) disease. General dentists also refer their patients to us for comprehensive periodontal evaluation and treatment. In the United States, 90% of adults have various stages of periodontal disease, but up to 60% of cases go undiagnosed.
The initial symptoms of gum disease are easy to miss. Many patients do not know that they even have gum disease until it has reached the advanced stages. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to the loosening of the teeth, resulting in a change in your bite, and eventual tooth loss!
What are Probing Depths?
When you visit us for your periodontal exam, some of the first data points we collect are six probing depths for each tooth. We measure the distance between the bottom of the sulcus and the gingival margin. A healthy probing depth is 3 mm or less. Any probing depths over 3 mm indicate gum inflammation.
What is Calculus?
Dental calculus is plaque (food debris) hardened over time due to the minerals in our saliva. Calculus is not always visible. It often accumulates behind the back of your lower front teeth, between your back teeth, and underneath your gum line. Furthermore, 50-60% of calculus can not be seen on X-rays. Gone undetected, calculus causes prolonged inflammation and leads to infection of the periodontium. It erodes the gums and bone that hold and support the teeth in place.
What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease. It is simply gum inflammation, caused by plaque accumulation due to poor oral hygiene or pregnancy (increased level of progesterone). Typical signs of gingivitis are: gum redness, swelling, bleeding, and bluntness in gum contour. Though early onset gingivitis itself is not initially damaging, undiagnosed or untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis, which is more critical and destructive.
What is Periodontitis?
Periodontitis (advanced gum disease) is an infection of the gums and the underlying bony structure that hold your teeth in place. During your periodontal assessment at Arden Dental Center, Dr. Wen Lu and our expert hygienist make our team diagnosis based on key factors including pocket depths, tooth mobility, degrees of bone loss, and types of bony defects as seen on X-rays.
No matter how severe your gingivitis or periodontitis is, our team at Arden Dental Center is here to help you immediately. During your periodontal exam, our expert dentist Dr. Lu explains thoroughly your diagnosis, in easy to understand terms. Then, Dr. Lu goes over in detail your treatment priority, options, and prognosis. We take pride in answering every one of your questions till you are satisfied. Our goal for your periodontal exam is to help you make the best informed decision for your health, so that you are most comfortable and confident in your course of treatment.
The goals of periodontal treatment include: reduction of pocket depths, reduction in gum bleeding on probing, gain of clinical attachment, ease in long-term home care, improvement of esthetic outcome, and prevention of tooth loss. Our primary periodontal treatment procedures include the following.
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing work well if you have a mild case of periodontitis due to calculus. During scaling, our expert hygienist clears the plaque and tartar above and below the gum line using an ultrasonic scaler. She then performs root planing to smooth the root surface, so as to enable reattachment of the gingival tissue to the teeth.
Dr. Lu may prescribe oral or localized antibiotics to reduce inflammation and to help combat bacteria.
Laser Gum Therapy
Laser therapy helps in reducing gum pocket depth and removes bacteria. Laser technology also promotes faster healing.
Receding gums (gum recession) that exposes more of the tooth roots makes these teeth more sensitive to hot and cold. They also become more susceptible to decay. This condition not only can cause more structural defects of the teeth from abrasion (excessive brushing) or abfraction (malocclusion), but can also erode the overall foundation of the soft gum tissue.
Dr. Lu may recommend gingival grafting to rectify receding gums when mucogingival defect is present. This soft tissue graft re-establishes a healthy band of attached gingiva. Without healthy attached gingiva, cleansability is jeopardized, and tooth loss becomes inevitable. During this procedure, Dr. Lu tunnels under the receding gum (incision-free) and inserts a small section of healthy gum tissue to achieve a wider band of keratinized tissue.
If gum disease has caused damage to the surrounding periodontium, Dr. Lu may recommend regenerative surgery with either bone graft, or biomaterial, or both. This procedure removes the granulation tissues, conditions the root surface, and seeds small pieces of your bone or bone graft. Regenerative surgery stimulates natural bone regrowth and tissue reattachment, so as to prevent future tooth loss.
During flap surgery, Dr. Lu makes minor cuts in your gum and lifts it to remove the calculus and bacteria from the tooth under the gums. Dr. Lu then recontours the bony structure to improve overall supportive architecture. Finally, Dr. Lu repositions the gums to help the tissue fit snugly around your teeth, so as to reduce the pockets, improve overall cleansability, and prevent future tooth loss.
If you suffer from any gum symptoms, Dr. Wen Lu of Arden Dental Center in Bloomingdale, Illinois is here to help you immediately. Like with any medical condition, early action is key to success. Call or text us at (630) 529-0303. Or schedule online for your comprehensive periodontal evaluation today.