One quick look at your mouth in the mirror reveals that there is a lot more going on in there besides your teeth! The truth is that when it comes to your oral health, your gums are just as important, and without consistent oral hygiene, they can develop an infection called gum disease. Over time, this can break down the supporting structures of the teeth and cause them to fall out! At Del Mar Dental Arts, our team is able to not only detect gum disease during its earliest stages but provide a wide range of treatments to make it disappear as well. If you’ve noticed red, swollen, or bleeding gums lately, give us a call to get the care you need right away!
When someone doesn’t brush or floss their teeth every day, plaque gathers on the teeth underneath the gums, and this can eventually harden into tartar. This tartar is filled with bacteria, which can irritate, inflame, and even deteriorate the nearby tissues. This is the infection called gum disease, and scaling & root planing is specifically designed to remove this tartar. After the roots of the teeth have been cleaned, they’re gently reshaped to be smoother and more even, making it harder for plaque to stick to them in the future.
We can apply an antibiotic called minocycline directly to the gums in order to kill any bacteria not removed by scaling and root planing. The medicine initially dries upon contact and then slowly dissolves over the next few days, enabling it to reach down into the tiny spaces between the gums and teeth where bacteria like to hide. This treatment can also reduce the size of these spaces, lowering a patient’s risk for reinfection.
As gum disease advances, bacteria tend to gather in what are called periodontal pockets, which are small areas located between the teeth and gums. Sometimes, this bacteria can reduce the amount of jawbone supporting the gums, making the pockets larger and more likely to gather bacteria and plaque. Osseous surgery is a minor procedure that involves making a small incision in the gums so your dentist can easily access the root of a tooth, clean away the bacteria, and encourage the growth of new, healthy bone so that the pocket will all but disappear as you heal.
The damage caused by gum disease can sometimes create a defect in the jawbone supporting the gums and teeth, forming spaces where bacteria can easily accumulate and multiply, even if a patient brushes and flosses consistently. GTR allows your dentist to fix these defects by placing a special membrane around the root of a tooth that allows blood and nutrition to enter the area while blocking toxins and bacteria. As a result, the bone is able to naturally generate new tissue, lessen the defect, and lead to improved oral health.
A strong at-home oral hygiene routine is a crucial part of keeping your smile safe from the ongoing effects of gum disease. That’s why our team may recommend PerioProtect™ as a helpful addition to brushing, flossing, and the use of mouthwash. The process is simple – you’ll wear the provided oral trays with prescribed medication for a few minutes every day. The trays prevent the medication from being accidentally washed away, and the delivery system can reach difficult areas that aren’t accessible with just a toothbrush and floss.