Periodontal Therapy at Chapel Hill Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
We promote healthy gums as the foundation for overall health and wellness. The gums are important not only for the health of the smile but the aesthetics as well. Dr. Furgurson and Dr. White place significant emphasis on your periodontal health. We offer gum disease treatment in Chapel Hill, NC to address all stages of gum disease, gingivitis, bleeding gums, and advanced periodontal disease.
There is a clear link between gum disease and poor oral health to an increased risk for the development of cardiovascular and systemic disease. Healthy gums serve as a barrier to harmful bacteria in the mouth. When the gums become weak from disease, bacteria can enter the bloodstream, leading to internal inflammation and health concerns. Keeping your gums healthy not only supports your teeth but also your physical well-being.
Stages of Gum Disease
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. The symptoms can be so subtle that not many people are even aware that they have it. Signs you may have gingivitis include redness, swelling, and bleeding gums. This stage of gum disease is easily reversible with professional dental care and good oral hygiene. If you visit the dentist regularly, it is easy to diagnose and fairly easy to treat. Your dentist may recommend more frequent teeth cleanings to prevent reoccurring gingivitis.
Periodontitis is the most advanced stage of gum disease. When gingivitis goes undiagnosed and untreated, it will progress into periodontitis. This stage of gum disease is characterized by severe inflammation of the gum tissues around the teeth, bone loss, deep pockets between teeth and gums, gum recession, and tooth loss. Once gum disease reaches advanced periodontitis, treatment is difficult and permanent damage is likely. Treatment may include surgery.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
Preventing gum disease involves consistent oral hygiene and healthy lifestyle choices. Regular visits to our Chapel Hill dentist office will help you maintain healthy gums and avoid other complex dental concerns. We perform a thorough periodontal screening during routine dental care and look for early signs of disease. If you seek treatment promptly, we can manage your gum disease with conservative options. Here are some additional tips to help you avoid gum disease:
- Brush Properly: You should brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft bristle tooth brush. Brushing your teeth should take at least two minutes each time. The toothpaste you use should contain fluoride. When you brush, be sure to make contact with all surfaces of your gums and teeth.
- Floss Daily: Flossing should be completed at least once a day. This important oral hygiene step removes plaque and food particles from between teeth and along the gumline. Use dental floss or interdental brushes daily keep bacteria away from your gums.
- Use Mouthwash: Using an antimicrobial mouthwash to kill bacteria and reduce plaque is a good addition to your daily oral care routine. It will help kill any hard to reach bacteria in your mouth.
- Regular Dental Check-ups: Visit our Chapel Hill dental practice for regular check-ups and professional cleanings at least twice a year, or as recommended by your dentist. At these visits we clean your teeth to remove built up plaque and tartar.
- Healthy Diet: Eating a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals is good for your overall health and your oral health. It is very important to avoid or limit sugary snacks and beverages because sugar contributes to plaque formation.
- Quit Smoking: If you smoke or use tobacco products, we recommend that you take the steps to quit. Smoking weakens your immune system and makes it harder to fight off gum infections.
- Manage Stress: Chronic stress weakens the immune system, making it easier for infections, including gum disease, to develop.
- Understand Risk Factors: Be aware of factors such as diabetes, certain medications, and genetic predisposition, which can increase your risk of gum disease. Inform your dentist about these factors for personalized care.
- Use Fluoride: Use fluoride toothpaste and consider fluoride treatments if your dentist recommends them. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and helps prevent tooth decay, which can contribute to gum disease.
- Proper Oral Appliances: If you wear braces, dentures, or other dental appliances, follow your dentist’s instructions for cleaning and maintenance to prevent gum irritation and infection.
Signs & Symptoms of Gum Disease
Some signs and symptoms of gum disease include:
- Red or swollen gums
- Receding gums
- Loose or shifted teeth
- Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
- Persistent bad breath
- Changes in the fit of dentures
- Sores in the mouth
Chapel Hill dentists Dr. Furgurson and Dr. White offer several treatment options for periodontal disease, depending on the stage and severity. If you have early signs of gum disease, known as gingivitis, we may recommend frequent dental cleaning procedures to restore your gums to optimal health.
If you need more intensive treatment, your Chapel Hill dentist may recommend a deep tooth cleaning known as scaling and root planing. During this procedure, the dentist or hygienist will remove plaque and tartar from the deep pockets of the gum. This vigorous cleaning involves the use of special dental tools to remove the bacteria causing plaque and tartar that have developed. This will help prevent further build-up to help avoid gum recession and tooth loss.
Patients who have advanced signs of gum disease may require more intense treatment or surgery. In these cases, we may help coordinate treatment with a local periodontist.
Gum Disease Treatment in Chapel Hill, NC
Dr. Furgurson and Dr. White offer gum disease treatment in Chapel Hill, NC for patients suffering periodontal disease. Depending on how far advanced your disease is will determine your treatment.
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical periodontal therapy, or deep cleaning. During scaling, your Chapel Hill dentist will use special instruments to remove plaque and tartar from the surface of your teeth and below the gumline. They will reach into the pockets that have formed between the gums and your teeth to clean them out. The goal is to remove all the bacteria deposits that lead to inflammation and infection.
During root planing, your dentist will smooth out the root surfaces of your teeth. The purpose of doing this is to help the gum reattach to the teeth which will reduce the size of the periodontal pockets. Also, with smoother roots, it is more difficult for bacteria to thrive.
The combination of scaling and root planing removes the source of the infection, allowing the gums to heal and reattach to the teeth. It reduces inflammation, stops the progression of gum disease, and prevents tooth loss.
A minimally invasive way to tackle gum disease is with laser dentistry. This form of periodontal therapy uses dental lasers to target and remove infected or inflamed gum tissue. This is necessary when bacteria attack the soft tissue, forming periodontal pockets around the teeth, and the soft tissues are now diseased tissue.
The light energy will vaporize the diseased tissue, killing the bacteria instantly. Using lasers in dentistry is very effective and precise. Your dentist can target just the diseased portion of your gums leaving all your healthy soft tissues and gums untouched. Also, light energy is able to seal blood vessels and nerve endings, reduce bleeding, swelling, and discomfort compared to other periodontal treatments. Recovering from laser treatments for gum disease is quicker and easier and will involve less discomfort.
Gum Disease FAQs
Gum disease is a preventable dental problem that many of our patients suffer from. We encourage everyone to understand the signs and symptoms as well as how to prevent it. To learn more about periodontal disease, read our frequently asked questions. Contact us if you have further questions or concerns.
Is gum disease linked to other diseases?
Yes. There have been many studies to prove that that there is a link between several health problems and gum disease. People with type-2 diabetes are susceptible to developing periodontitis and people who have periodontitis are more likely to also develop type-2 diabetes.
There are links between gum disease to heart disease and problems during pregnancy. This is why visiting the dentist regularly is very important to maintain proper oral health and avoid developing more serious health conditions.
What increases my risk of developing gum disease?
There are many risk factors including using tobacco of any form, already having a systematic disease such as diabetes, certain medications (please ask your doctor about the medication you take), use of birth control, pregnancy, crooked teeth and worn down or broken dental restorations.
Will gum disease cause tooth loss?
Yes, as a matter of fact, gum disease is the number one reason people suffer from tooth loss. Preventing gum disease with proper oral hygiene habits and seeking treatment as soon as possible if you show signs of it are the best ways to prevent tooth loss. If you do not seek treatment for your gum disease, it will progress into a serious oral health problem. You will suffer from bone loss and gum recession in addition to tooth loss.
Can you cure gum disease?
We can remove gum disease and take efforts to get your gums back to a healthy state. It is important to practice a good oral care routine for your gums to heal. If bacteria is trapped around your gums, infection will spread without hesitation.
Can gum disease hurt?
Gum disease will not always cause pain. However, most people will claim it is painful in the late stages. The first signs that you may have gum disease include gum irritation, redness, tenderness, and bleeding. You can take OTC medication to alleviate pain.
How can I prevent gum disease from getting worse?
Patients can prevent gum disease from worsening by brushing and flossing their teeth regularly. If plaque gathers on or around teeth and gums it is likely that infection will spread. This is why proper oral care is very important for patients with gum disease.
How often should I visit the dentist if I have gum disease?
If you suffer from any stage of gum disease, we recommend that you visit our dental office more frequently. Typically people with periodontal disease are advised to visit the dentist every 3 to 4 months for a teeth cleaning and to monitor their disease. This is essential to manage your condition and to make any adjustments if you need it. We can help you manage your disease better with frequent visits and help to prevent further progression of the disease.
Can gum disease affect overall health?
Your dental health in general has a significant impact on your overall health. If you suffer from gum disease, it will significantly impact your health. In-depth research has proven that periodontal disease is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, respiratory issues, and pregnancy complications. These problems and other systemic health issues are potentially caused from the inflammation and bacteria associated with gum disease. Taking good care of your oral health will contribute to good overall health.