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Healthy gums are vital to oral wellness. Most of the time, we don’t think of our gums as often as we think about our teeth. However, without a strong foundation, the teeth and roots lack protection and support. At Adey Family Dentistry, Dr. Brad Adey offers procedures in periodontal care. By preventing and treating gum disease, you can give yourself the best chance of long-term oral health.

The Importance of Periodontal Care

Gum disease, although typically not painful, can wreak havoc on your smile and your health. The condition begins as gingivitis, which can lead to inflamed, tender, and bleeding gums. At this stage, gum disease can be reversed by improving your brushing and flossing techniques, and by attending routine dental visits. However, when left untreated, gingivitis can worsen, causing the infection to spread down below the gum line and around the teeth roots. When this occurs, it is referred to as periodontitis. During this phase, the infection can erode the bone that supports the teeth, causing pockets to form around the roots. In turn, more food, debris, and plaque can become trapped deep in the gums, where it cannot be reached with a toothbrush or floss. This infection can spread to adjacent teeth quickly, and ultimately lead to mobility or tooth loss.

What Causes Gum Disease?

There are a number of factors – both genetic and environmental – that can lead to gum disease. Ultimately, the process is a response to bacteria in the plaque buildup that accumulates around the teeth. However, different people respond to this irritant in different ways. Some individuals are simply more sensitive to the bacteria, and therefore experience swelling and tenderness. Aside from hereditary elements, there are other risk factors as well, including:

  • Tobacco use: One of the primary risk factors for periodontal disease, smoking and tobacco use drastically impedes the body’s natural healing process, and makes people more prone to developing a myriad of oral and overall health issues.
  • Hormonal fluctuations: Gingivitis and periodontal flare-ups are more common during certain life stages. For example, adolescents often experience swollen and tender gums during puberty. Additionally, women often notice more gingival inflammation during menses, menstruation, and menopause.
  • Medications: Some medications, such as anti-depressants, heart medication, and more, can make you more prone to periodontal problems.
  • Diabetes: Having diabetes does not directly cause gum disease, but it does make individuals more prone to it. This is mostly due to the fluctuations in blood sugar.
  • Bruxism: If you suffer from extreme teeth grinding, you are more likely to exert excess pressure on the teeth and gums, leading to a host of oral health issues.
  • Poor diet: A lack of proper nutrition can have a negative impact on your body’s ability to fight off diseases.

Treatments in Periodontal Care

At Adey Family Dentistry, we offer a number of periodontal treatments to help our patients treat gum disease at the source and prevent future problems from reoccurring. These procedures include:

  • Periodontal charting: To determine the amount of bone loss, Dr. Adey will measure the pockets around the teeth with a specialized dental instrument called a periodontal probe. This instrument has markings on it which measures the bone loss in millimeters.
  • Scaling and root planing: Time-tested and effective, scaling and root planing is a non-surgical treatment for gum disease. During this procedure, the clinician uses a combination of hand scalers and ultrasonic instruments to reach deep into the gum line, sweeping away plaque, debris, and infection-causing bacteria. The roots of the teeth are smoothed so that irritants are discouraged from reattaching.
  • Antibiotic therapy: Used alone or in conjunction with scaling and root planing, antibiotic therapy can treat an infection at its source. This treatment involves placing topical antimicrobials under the gum line.
  • Periodontal maintenance: Once the bacteria has been eradicated, we must take steps to prevent the gum disease from coming back. This will involve regular dental cleanings, scheduled at intervals determined by Dr. Adey. This will help maintain your progress and preserve your smile for years to come.

Learn More about Periodontal Care

If you are exhibiting symptoms of gum disease, or if you simply want to learn more about periodontal care, schedule a consultation with Dr. Adey at our Kennett Square, PA practice. You can call us at (610) 444-2928 or contact us online.