March 6, 2012

Non-Surgical Treatment Of Gum Disease


Gum disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects nearly 75-90 percent of the general population at one time or another. These chronic infections have been linked to increased risk of heart attack, stroke, ulcers, diabetes, respiratory diseases and pregnancy complications.

It does not have to be this way! Gum disease is easily prevented and gum treatment can be non-surgical, using a simple, antibacterial program pioneered in the 1970s by Dr. Paul Keyes (Keyes Technique).

Our approach often uses the phase contrast microscope to test for bone destroying infectious bacteria beneath the gums. With this microscope we can take a sample from under the gums and look at a slide that shows the live bacteria. The microscope is connected to a monitor so that the patient can see the live bacteria on the TV monitor with us. The microscopic information combined with the information we gather during the exam, enables us to determine how severe the infection is and work with the patient to get things under control.

Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues and bone that surround and support the teeth. There are two basic stages of gum disease- gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums caused by a buildup of bacteria in the mouth called plaque. This causes red, swollen gums that typically bleed easily. Healthy gums don’t bleed. Periodontitis occurs when gingivitis goes untreated and progresses to an advanced  form of gum disease. The bacteria cause the gums to pull away from the teeth, creating bone loss and pockets where the bone used to be. The bacteria can proliferate in the pockets and further damage the bone that supports the teeth. Teeth may become loose, fall out or have to be extracted.

To treat the disease non-surgically deep cleanings called scaling and root planing are performed to clean and smooth the root surfaces. We then treat the infection with antibacterial solutions flowed under the gums to help eliminate the infection. In some cases localized antibiotics must be placed under the gums in deep pockets. The patient is given thorough lessons in proper tooth brushing, flossing and home irrigation to ensure that the periodontal disease process is eliminated and doesn’t return.

For information about other dental topics visit DrTav.com.

3 comments:

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