Periodontics for Healthy Gums and a Gorgeous Smile

Your gums and teeth are equally important when it comes to a healthy smile. Gum disease, or periodontitis, can have devastating consequences for your oral wellness. Left untreated, it can cause significant discomfort, tissue recession, and tooth loss. Fortunately, Jacksonville Dentist Dr. Lysandro Tapnio offers complete periodontics to eliminate oral bacteria and preserve your smile. Through routine dental hygiene, he can often prevent gum disease from occurring. However, if you do develop the condition, early treatment can reduce your risks for long-term damage. He also offers more aggressive treatment for advanced gum disease. For optimal oral health, you should visit our office at least twice a year. If you have already developed the symptoms of gum disease, contact us immediately to prevent additional damage.

Gum Disease: A Serious Dental Concern

Gum disease is a common condition among American adults. The disease occurs when bacteria gather in your soft tissues. In the initial stages, symptoms are mild and may include slight irritation, sensitivity to temperature, and minor bleeding. In this phase, Dr. Tapnio can usually eliminate the disease with a routine cleaning. However, if you do not seek treatment, bacteria will multiply quickly. They will erode your gums, creating pockets in the soft tissues. The pockets will get larger as bacteria advance, and your gums will start to pull away from the underlying bone. At this point, you may experience widespread tooth loss and jaw recession. Eventually, you could even develop a serious bone infection.

Gum Disease Risk Factors

Gum disease can affect anyone. However, you are at a higher risk for the condition if:

  • You are over age 65. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control reports that 70% of American seniors suffer from gum disease.
  • You maintain poor dental hygiene or do not visit the dentist regularly.
  • You smoke or use chewing tobacco. Risks increase the longer and more frequently you use these products.
  • You have a family history of gum disease.
  • You have an autoimmune disorder or other condition that makes it difficult for your body to ward off bacteria.

While routine dental visits are always important, these appointments take on special significance if you are at a high risk for gum disease.

Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and root planing, also known as a deep cleaning, is the most common treatment for moderate gum disease. After your hygienist thoroughly cleans your teeth, Dr. Tapnio will numb your gums and the hygienist will do a deep cleaning to eradicate bacteria from your gums and work very gently to reduce the impact to your surrounding tissues. She will also smooth the surfaces of your dental roots. Because bacteria often gather in the rough patches, scaling and root planing can prevent a recurrence of gum disease. Thanks to our hygienist’s precise methods, your treatment should involve minimal discomfort. However, you may have some moderate post-cleaning sensitivity. Mild medication and a soft diet can ease this irritation until it goes away on its own, usually in a few days.

Other Treatment Options

Scaling and root planing is an excellent option for moderate gum disease, but it is not enough to treat more advanced periodontitis. Once bacterial pockets form, Dr. Tapnio can no longer reverse the condition. Nonetheless, proper care can reduce your risk for flare-ups and, often, prevent tooth loss. Additional treatments for periodontitis may include:

  • Antibiotics: Medications can further eradicate oral bacteria. These may take the form of an oral medication or a topical cream. In some cases, Dr. Tapnio will combine antibiotics with a deep cleaning.
  • Bone grafting: If gum disease has led to tooth loss and bone recession, Dr. Tapnio may recommend a bone graft. He will use your own bone, donor tissue, or a synthetic product to restore lost volume.
  • Gum surgery: Dr. Tapnio may perform a gingivectomy to eliminate diseased gum tissue. He typically uses a soft tissue laser to provide more precise treatment with little discomfort and a brief recovery.
  • Perio flap surgery: Dr. Tapnio may open gum tissue surgically to treat gum disease if the depth of the gum pocket is more than 6mm.

Maintaining Your Healthy Gums

After appropriate treatment, it is vital that you exercise thorough care to protect your smile. As always, regular hygiene is the most important step. You should brush and floss your teeth daily. Antibacterial mouthwash is particularly important if you have been diagnosed with gum disease. You should also visit our office regularly. Following a periodontitis diagnosis, you may want to schedule visits more than twice a year. Bacteria will be less likely to accumulate, and Dr. Tapnio can address the first signs of a flare-up. Additionally, he can advise you regarding certain lifestyle changes that may improve your oral health. For example, you may want to alter your diet to eliminate excess sugars and starches. Protein and vitamins can also boost your immune system and the ability to fight oral bacteria. Finally, for true oral health, it is vital that you quit smoking. Here, too, Dr. Tapnio can provide guidance, and he can refer you to another health care professional for assistance.

Protect Your Periodontal Health

Whether you are experiencing the symptoms of gum disease, or you enjoy perfect oral health, our care will keep your smile bright and healthy for years. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment options and book an appointment.

To learn more about periodontics, read this article.

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