The word periodontal literally means "around the tooth." Healthy gum tissue fits like a cuff around each tooth. Where the gum line meets the tooth, it forms a slight v-shaped crevice called a sulcus. In healthy teeth, this space is usually three millimeters or less.
Periodontal diseases are infections that affect the tissues and bone that support teeth. As the tissues are damaged, the sulcus develops into a pocket that is greater than three millimeters. Generally, the more severe the disease, the greater the pocket depth and bone loss. The enlarged pockets allow harmful bacteria to grow and make it difficult to practice effective oral hygiene. Left untreated, periodontal diseases may eventually lead to tooth loss.
If the disease is caught very early (gingivitis), you may simply be given instructions on improving your daily oral hygiene. The first non-surgical step usually involves a special cleaning, called scaling and root planing, to remove plaque and tartar deposits on the tooth and root surfaces. This procedure helps gum tissue to heal and pockets to shrink. This is sometimes referred to as deep cleaning and may take more than one visit.
We use Arestin, an antibiotic administered directly into the infected pockets between your teeth. Usually, we will administer Arestin after scaling and root planing, a common procedure used to treat periodontal disease. We have found Arestin is an excellent treatment for chronic periodontitis, an infection of the gums that can lead to tooth loss. Arestin significantly reduces the depth of infected pockets and helps prevent disease progression.
We are proud to offer laser dentistry, which uses cutting edge technology to provide more comfortable, precise, and efficient dental care.
Waterlase by Biolase is used for a variety of procedures, including:
- Crown lengthening
- Gingival (gum) resculpting
- Easing tongue and cheek attachments
- Cold sores and canker sores
- Gum disease therapy
You don't have to lose teeth to periodontal diseases. Brush, clean between your teeth, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.