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Periodontal Therapy – Washington, D.C.

Renewing Smiles After Gum Disease

The leading cause of tooth loss in people under 35 is athletic injury. The leading cause of tooth loss in adults over 35 is periodontal (gum) disease. This common oral health issue affects more the 50% of US adults, is associated with numerous systemic illnesses like diabetes and high blood pressure, and is linked to pre-term and low-weight births. With startling statistics like those, it’s no surprise that the Aesthetic & Family Dentistry of Washington team spends a significant portion of every six month checkup examining gum tissue for signs of periodontal disease. A systematic review of the depths of pockets between teeth and gums is the best way to track changes in soft tissue and diagnose gum disease at the first signs of trouble. There are two main types of gum disease, gingivitis and periodontitis, and our dental team offers patients periodontal therpay in Washington, DC to address both.

Treatment for Gingivitis

The mildest form of gum disease is often referred to as gingivitis. It occurs so frequently in pregnant women that the phrase pregnancy gingivitis is used to describe the condition. Gingivitis occurs when plaque buildup at the gum line irritates gum tissue. The warning signs of this form of gum disease can be subtle, but some things to look for include swollen, discolored, inflamed, or bleeding gums. Patients who suffer from gingivitis typically reverse the damage with more frequent professional teeth cleanings, and thorough at-home hygiene. If these methods prove ineffective in eliminating gum disease, we may need to progress to more advanced treatment options.

Advanced Treatment for Periodontal Disease

Left untreated, gingivitis continues to irritate gums, and eventually, sores form leading to infection, and tissue is broken down. As the soft tissue continues to be broken down, pockets between teeth and gums grow, teeth loosen, and eventually, teeth may fall out. This advanced form of gum disease is known as periodontitis, and some of the major warning signs include bleeding gums, pus or fluid between teeth and gums, extremely sensitive soft tissue, and bad breath that doesn’t abate with regular cleaning. Treatment for periodontitis is more invasive than regular cleaning. The first course of action is scaling and root planing. Scaling is the systematic removal of plaque, tartar, and infected gum tissue. Root planing is the smoothing of tooth roots to prevent further plaque buildup.

After scaling and root planing, patients attend more frequent teeth cleanings, and if this is not effective, oral or topical antibiotic therapy or a surgical procedure is necessary. In the most advanced cases, we may refer patients to a trusted gum disease specialist known as a periodontist. If this is necessary, our team works closely with a specialist to ensure patients receive the same quality care we would offer.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

If you’ve experienced any of the warning signs of periodontal disease, contact Aesthetic & Family Dentistry of Washington right away. The sooner we are able to diagnose the disease and begin treatment, the more likely we are to successfully restore oral health.