Dr. Cross is a board certified Periodontist. He attended four years of dental school followed by a three-year specialty program in Periodontics. Periodontics is a branch of dentistry that treats conditions and diseases of the supporting structures of the teeth, especially the gums. Periodontists commonly treat severe cases of oral inflammation including gum disease.
Periodontal treatment is concerned with keeping the gums and bone around the teeth healthy. This involves the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal, or gum disease. Periodontists perform various procedures on the gums and surrounding tissue within the mouth.
Most periodontal treatments focus on treating gum or periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is an advanced stage of gum disease caused by a build-up of plaque and bacteria between the teeth and gums. When left untreated, the gums become swollen and infected and may bleed easily. As gum disease progresses, it becomes increasingly difficult and painful to treat. Periodontal disease can also lead to tooth loss.
Plaque Control Treatment
Most cases of periodontal disease develop because of bacterial plaque that builds up on the teeth over time. When it is not removed, plaque hardens and causes tartar to develop, which cannot be removed through brushing at home. The tissues and bone that support the teeth are gradually destroyed by this process.
A dentist or periodontist can perform a thorough cleaning of the teeth and gums which can assist in controlling the spread of plaque and bacteria in the mouth. This type of professional cleaning should be performed every six months to ensure healthy teeth and gums.
Periodontal Disease Treatment
A patient is normally referred to a periodontist to treat periodontal disease. Treatment may include:
Antibiotics or antimicrobial medications may be used to fight infection and reduce the size of the gum pockets that have occurred because of periodontitis.
Scaling and Root Planing
A treatment usually performed during the early stages of periodontal disease to help remove plaque and tartar that has built up beneath the gum line. This procedure is considered a deep cleaning, and may be performed to prevent the disease from progressing to a more advanced stage, or to improve the quality of a patient’s tissue before surgery.
During the scaling part of the procedure, an instrument called a scaler is used to scrape away any plaque or tartar that has built up beneath the gums. Plaque often develops in pockets that form between the teeth and gums. As the disease progresses, these pockets grow, which may cause teeth to loosen and eventually fall out.
After the scaler has removed the plaque and tartar, the treated area is rough and uneven. Root planing smooths the root of the tooth so that the gums can heal and reattach to the tooth properly. Anesthesia or sedation may be used during this procedure. Antibiotics or irrigation with antimicrobials may be prescribed to help prevent bacteria from growing in the mouth.
There is little-or-no pain associated with this procedure, and patients can resume their regular activities immediately afterward. Medication may be prescribed to address any post-treatment discomfort. After the scaling and root planing procedure, patients should practice proper oral hygiene in order to prevent pockets from reforming.
If other methods of treatment are ineffective, flap surgery may be performed to lift away gum tissue so that it can be cleaned underneath. Gum or bone grafts may also be performed to help regenerate any bone or gum tissue that may have been damaged or lost due to periodontitis.
Osseous surgery is a dental procedure that repairs damaged bone in patients with periodontal (gum) disease. Patients with gum disease often develop holes in the bone around the teeth. These holes can cause teeth to loosen and, eventually, fall out.
This procedure reshapes the damaged bone in order to hold the teeth in place and prevent them from falling out. During osseous surgery, a periodontist numbs the target area with a local anesthetic, and then cuts into the gum to access the underlying bone. The bone is then reshaped using a drill and other surgical tools. Some bone may be removed, or added from a graft. The gum tissue is then placed back onto the bone and sutured.
After osseous surgery, patients may experience mild swelling and pain, which can be managed by applying ice and taking pain medication as needed. A follow-up visit will be necessary after seven to ten days, at which point sutures will be removed, and an evaluation of how the patient is healing made.
To prevent future damage and keep the mouth healthy, practicing proper dental hygiene is essential.Patients can reduce their risk of developing gum disease by practicing proper oral hygiene. This includes thoroughly brushing the teeth at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Eating a balanced diet and avoiding smoking can also help maintain dental health. Seeing a dentist for a professional cleaning on a regular basis is essential to maintaining good dental as they can remove plaque and other substances that have built up on the teeth over time.
Specialty Therapeutic Oral Rinses
Periodontal treatment is concerned with keeping the gums and bone around the teeth healthy and managing periodontal, or gum, disease. Periodontal disease is caused by a build-up of plaque and bacteria between the teeth and gums. When left untreated, the gums become swollen and infected and may bleed easily. As gum disease progresses, it becomes increasingly difficult and painful to treat and can lead to tooth loss.
Benefits of Using a Specialty Oral Rinse
Specialty therapeutic oral rinses are recommended for many patients with serious oral health problems such as gum disease, gingivitis and xerostomia, which is commonly known as dry mouth. These rinses can also be quite beneficial for those who have undergone periodontal surgery as well as for people who cannot thoroughly brush their teeth due to physical limitations or other medical issues.
Specialty rinses contain active ingredients that help treat a range of oral health conditions. They may be formulated to address cavity prevention, dry mouth or plaque and tartar buildup. Some oral rinses are available over the counter while others require a prescription from a dentist.
Specialty Oral Rinse Formulations
There are a wide variety of specialty rinse products, so it is essential to follow the advice of an experienced dentist who will suggest the best formulation based on the oral health issues of a particular patient. Some of the most common active ingredients used in specialty therapeutic rinses include:
- Antimicrobials to constrict tissues and establish a protective barrier
- Anti-tartar agents to fight deposits of tartar
- Cetlyperadium chloride, an antibacterial agent to target bacteria in the mouth
- Fluoride to help strengthen the teeth and prevent decay
- Hexetidine to provide relief to irritated and bleeding gums
- Micellized vitamins to help the rinse be absorbed more quickly
- Pain relievers to reduce both pain and acidity in the mouth
- Xylitol to help prevent tooth decay
With proper management by a dentist experienced in the care of periodontal disease, specialty oral rinses can be a valuable tool in the protection of oral health.