Gingivitis & Periodontal Disease

ToothWhat is gingivitis?

Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gum tissue.  Generally gingivitis occurs in response to the bacteria in plaque and tartar on your teeth.  The most common sign of gingivitis is bleeding gums when brushing your teeth.  With a thorough dental cleaning, gingivitis is completely reversible and your gums will heal within days.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal Disease or Periodontitis is when gingivitis progresses to the next level and the inflammation process moves to the supporting structures (gums and bone) of the tooth. Tartar and plaque will hide deep below the gum line and cannot be removed with brushing and flossing.

We are able to diagnosis periodontitis with a comprehensive soft tissue exam using a probe and an evaluation of your x-rays. Once periodontal disease starts the break down process we can only arrest the problem with a “deep” cleaning or Scaling and Root Planing to remove the hidden tartar. Often, this deep cleaning is sufficient to arrest the disease process.  However, sometimes additional cleanings or other procedures are required to slow or arrest the disease process.  Once the disease process is no longer in the active state, you will be maintained with regular cleanings at two to six month intervals depending on your own personal needs.

Occasionally during a scaling and root planing we like to place an antibiotic in the deep, diseased pocket. The antibiotic used is called Arestin. This antibiotic therapy is an adjunct service to help with destroying any bacteria that was not removed during the scaling procedure.   During a scaling and root planing most of the bacteria is mechanically removed with special tools. At times the diseased pocket is so deep that some bacteria is left hidden at the bottom.  Arestin, a yellow powder containing microspheres of minocycline hydrochloride, is delivered to the area.  This antibiotic will allow the pocket to stay bacteria free, allowing for better healing.

We now know that teeth and gums have a significant effect on the overall health of your body. Did you know that gum disease can put you at risk for stroke and exacerbate your diabetic condition? Studies show that people with chronic periodontal disease are more likely to have strokes, and the presence of gum inflammation can make it harder for a diabetic to control their blood sugar.

With regular dental cleanings and check-ups, Dr. Cohen, Dr. Shaw and their hygienists can monitor the health of your oral cavity. Routine oral cancer screenings are done at every dental cleaning, and any abnormalities are always charted, photographed, and further observed.

Remember the best way to keep a healthy mouth is by good homecare habits. Brushing two to three times a day and flossing once is ideal.  And don’t forget to change your toothbrush every three months!