Treating Gum Disease
Gum disease, also known as gingivitis, is an easily reversible gum disease that can affect you at any point in your life, and it’s not alway reflective of poor hygiene habits. When gingivitis worsens, it becomes periodontitis and is more difficult to treat. Dr. Fiss uses laser therapy to treat patients with advanced forms of gum disease that may not be treated through a general cleaning.
Difference in Gum Diseases
There are two major forms of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums around the teeth. It’s caused by a mix of food debris, saliva, and bacteria sticking to the surface of the teeth. If bacteria aren’t properly removed from the teeth, they can travel to the gums and cause inflammation.
Periodontitis occurs when the bacteria extend below the gums and into the bone. When the bone becomes infected, it recedes from the teeth and forms gum pockets. When these pockets collect plaque, it can cause bone loss. Later stages of periodontitis can lead to aggressive bone loss, which can result in your teeth falling out.
Increased Risk Factors
While gum diseases is commonly caused by not adequately removing bacteria and plaque from the teeth, other factors can make you more susceptible to forming gum disease.
- Smoking slows gum tissue healing
- Crooked or overlapping teeth are hard to clean and harbor plaque
- Increased hormone levels can cause the gums to be more susceptible to bacterial attack
- Stress affects the body’s immune response to bacteria
- Diets high in sugar and carbohydrates cause plaque build-up
Do I Have Gum Disease?
Gum disease should be identified by your dentist. However, certain symptoms may indicate the presence of gum disease. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should schedule a consultation with your dentist immediately.
- Red, tender, or swollen gums
- Bleeding gums after brushing or flossing
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Loose teeth
- Pus between the teeth and gums
- Pain when chewing
- Sensitive teeth
- Foul-smelling breath that lasts even after you brush your teeth
Laser Therapy to Treat Gum Disease
Gingivitis is usually corrected through a standard teeth cleaning. However, aggressive gingivitis and periodontitis require a deeper cleaning to thoroughly treat it. Patients with gum pockets between four and six millimeters would benefit from a root planing treatment. This deep cleaning is performed using a local anesthetic and requires scraping the surface of the tooth and pocket lining to clean them of bacteria. The remaining healthy tissue shrinks to the clean tooth, reducing pocket depth.
Dr. Fiss also uses laser therapy to treat many forms of gum disease, especially periodontitis. Lasers are effective treatments for gum disease because they can thoroughly destroy bacteria on the surface of the teeth and in the gum pocket. They can remove the inflamed lining of the gum pocket and plaque from root surfaces. Laser therapy often treats extensive gum diseases that would otherwise require surgical correction.
If you have symptoms of gum disease and need to be diagnosed or treated, schedule a consultation with Dr. Fiss today. Contact our office at 312.951.5230 or fill out our online contact form here for additional information.