Most of the time, as patients, there’s a thought that “I have a toothache,” “My tooth doesn’t look right,” or “something’s going on with, say, ‘I see a black spot,’ and we kind of neglect the gums. Oftentimes, I think dentists do this as well. But in our practice at Concierge Dental Group, we want to ensure that the teeth and the gums are very healthy.
You go in for dental cleanings and things and, that’s your hygienist taking care of your gum or gingival health. We call it gums gingiva. And when the gums get inflamed, the first phase is gingivitis, inflammation of the gingiva, or inflammation of the gums. If they stay inflamed for an extended amount of time, it allows for bacteria to form in those pockets of inflammation.
So, a pocket is created by inflamed gums, butted up against a tooth, and those are too deep for toothbrush bristles to get in underneath and clean. So, the bacteria builds up and some bacteria can create this acid that actually eats away at the bone itself. So not only do you have gum, inflammation, and gingivitis, but you also have bone loss, which is periodontal disease.
Periodontal Disease Diagnosis
What do we do when we have a diagnosis of periodontal disease? We have to clean the bacteria first. That’s the most important thing. The bacteria that causes periodontal disease is all over your mouth. Once you have it, it all has to be cleaned out mechanically. We call that mechanical debridement. Once the gums are so inflamed and the pockets are so deep, this is no longer a normal cleaning or dental atrophy or dental prophylaxis.
You may have heard it in those different terms. This is a deep cleaning for all intents and purposes. To go deep, that could bother the patient. That could hurt. So, we’ll use anesthetic throughout. First we’ll do a measurement around the mouth and we’ll say, “what is the current status of the pocket depths”? That’s really important so that we can track our progress over time because we really want to shrink those down.
Periodontal Disease Treatment
The more we shrink them down and keep those pocket depths to a minimum, the healthier your gums will be, the less bacteria that will accumulate there, and the less you’ll have this chronic condition of active gum disease. That’s what we want to eliminate is the active nature of the gum disease. Non-surgical periodontal therapy includes the measurement or the mechanical debridement or cleaning around every tooth throughout the mouth and also application of antibiotic agents around the area.
Sometimes, we’ll even use lasers to debride some really heavily swollen gum tissue. All this is done with local anesthetic and it’s done in a non-surgical way. There’s really no cutting of the gums. There’s no stitches. There’s no soft tissue grafting of any kind. All of these things would be surgical periodontal therapy. The non-surgical periodontal therapy can help 90 plus percent of patients with periodontal disease.
We don’t have to go to a surgical mitigation or surgical curing of the of the disease itself. We just do this non-surgically. This is done with the oversight of the dentist but is usually done by our hygienists in our offices.