Healthy gums and bones hold our teeth in place, and we usually don’t give them a second thought. But if you have periodontal disease, your gums may bother you every time you open your mouth.
Our gum disease specialist (periodontist) delivers exceptional care. We offer a range of treatments that give you a reason to smile again.
Gum infections from gingivitis are the most common form of gum disease (periodontal disease). Gingivitis happens when bacteria (plaque) builds up. Over time, tartar forms, which happens when plaque buildups harden. These buildups can irritate your gums and cause swelling.
Gingivitis can lead to a more serious gum disease called periodontitis. Periodontitis may cause your teeth become loose or fall out.
You may need to see our periodontist if you have any form of periodontal disease, including:
- Receding gums, which is when your gums start pulling away from the surface of your teeth
- Gingival hyperplasia, which is when extra gum tissue covers more of the tooth’s surface than usual
You face a higher risk of gum disease if you:
- Use tobacco
- Fall behind on regular dental care, including cleanings to clear away plaque and tartar buildups
- Take drugs, such as antidepressants or anti-seizure medications, that may reduce the amount of saliva in your mouth. When there is less saliva, your gum tissue may start swelling.
- Have health conditions, such as diabetes, leukemia, or AIDS
Periodontal care is one of the many services available through our dental medicine program. We offer care options to meet most of your dental needs, including routine cleanings and cosmetic dental services.
Our focus on prevention also allows us to detect early signs of gum disease, helping many avoid problems with their teeth. And our specialists all work together, so you don’t have to keep track of the small details of your care. Find out more about our dental medicine services.
More highlights of our program include:
- Highly skilled periodontist: Our periodontist delivers focused care that heals your gums, so you are less likely to lose teeth. If you do lose any teeth because of periodontitis, you will continue receiving excellent care. We implant artificial teeth that look and feel natural even if you have permanent gum damage.
- Early detection: During routine cleanings, our general dentists check for early signs of gum disease, including swelling. They also ask about symptoms you may be experiencing, such as bleeding.Detecting gum disease early often allows you to receive less invasive treatments. Learn more about general dentistry.
- Coordinated care: If your AHN dentist refers you to our periodontist, they work together to offer you complete care. To do this, they discuss your situation before your first appointment. Your periodontist also shares information about your treatments with your dentist. These extra steps help our team deliver care that meets your unique needs.
With gingivitis, your gums may get better with simple treatments and self-care activities. These therapies lower the risk of tissue damage below the gum line and tooth loss.
We give you personalized recommendations that include how to:
- Brush your teeth with special toothpastes that help get rid of bacteria
- Remove plaque build-ups through regular dental cleanings
- Quit tobacco if you smoke
- Floss your teeth
- Use a rechargeable electric toothbrush and other devices to address your needs
If gum disease progresses to periodontitis, you may need a procedure to treat it. Our periodontist offers a range of options, including:
- Scaling and root planing: When periodontal disease progresses below the gum line, your gums pull away from the teeth. This separation creates “pockets.” We use scaling to clear away plaque from the pockets. Root planing helps us get rid of the pockets and reattach your gums to your teeth.
- Grafts (including gum and bone grafting): These grafts address problems such as receding gums and insufficient bone. You may need to use special toothpaste and mouthwash to keep the graft healthy.
- Dental implants: If you lose teeth, we replace them with artificial ones that attach to your jawbone. We insert these dental implants during a surgical procedure.
Insurance often covers periodontist services. But you may need to pay for a portion of your care. We can help you determine your out-of-pocket costs, so you know exactly what to expect.
Call (412) 359-3685 or request an appointment to learn more about AHN dental services.