Periodontal Maintenance in Harrisburg, NC
Worldwide, gum disease affects 1 billion people. In the United States, 47.2% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal (gum) disease. If gum disease is impairing your oral health, Dr. David P. Ney, DDS, can help with various periodontal maintenance options.
Dr. Ney can keep your teeth healthy with regular cleanings, reverse gingivitis, or treat various stages of periodontal disease.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease, also called periodontitis, is an advanced gum infection caused by bacteria. Gum disease is primarily caused by poor oral hygiene.
When you brush and floss your teeth regularly, you remove bacteria-filled plaque accumulation. However, when plaque remains on the teeth, it hardens and creates tartar which can only be removed by a dentist. If tartar builds up, the bacteria can migrate from the tooth’s surface to below the gumline.
In the early stage of periodontal disease, called gingivitis, your gums become red and swollen; they may bleed, especially when you brush your teeth. Gingivitis is reversible through proper oral hygiene, including regular dental visits. If the disease develops, pockets form around the gums and fill with bacteria, causing the gums to recede from the teeth. Gum tissue and bone deteriorates over time, which can lead to loose teeth and even tooth loss.
According to data from 2020, approximately 40% of older adults in North Carolina have lost six or more teeth due to decay or gum disease.
Symptoms of periodontal disease include:
- Gums that are red, swollen, bleeding, or tender
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Infection around the gums
- Receding gums, making your teeth appear longer
- Pain when chewing
- New gaps in your teeth or changes in the spacing between your teeth
- Loose teeth or tooth loss
Periodontal disease is mostly seen in adults, and its prevalence increases with age. However, gum disease can affect anyone. Risk factors include:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Smoking, chewing tobacco, or vaping
- Conditions like diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, or Crohn’s disease
- Poor nutrition
- Crooked teeth
- Ill-fitting dental bridges or cracked fillings
- Immuno-deficiency disorders
- Medications that cause dry mouth
- Hormonal changes in females due to pregnancy, oral contraceptives, or menopause
- Family history of gum disease
While Dr. Ney can use various treatments for periodontal maintenance, preventing and controlling gum disease is the main goal. Though some people are more genetically susceptible to periodontitis, everyone should take measures to prevent its development. Improving your oral hygiene is key. Remember to brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, floss daily to clear away debris, and use an antimicrobial mouthwash to kill bacteria. You should also limit sugar and make other healthy dietary choices. Stopping tobacco use and reducing your consumption of alcohol will also help prevent gum disease. Finally, see Dr. Ney every six months for professional cleanings and checkups.
Periodontal Maintenance Options
The goal of periodontal maintenance is to stop the disease from progressing. Early prevention can even help prevent other diseases. Oral health is a good indicator of overall health, and an unhealthy mouth can affect the whole body. Those with gum disease have an increased risk of developing serious health issues, such as heart disease, dementia, or stroke.
Dr. Ney offers various options to curb and treat periodontitis. Depending on the severity of the disease, Dr. Ney can use nonsurgical remedies or surgical procedures.
Nonsurgical Periodontal Maintenance
Deep cleaning the surfaces beneath the gums is called “scaling and root planing.” This treatment can take more than one visit, depending on the extent of the infection. Dr. Ney will use local anesthesia to make sure you are comfortable. Tooth scaling involves clearing away the bacteria under your gums. Using a hand scaler, Dr. Ney removes the tartar and washes away plaque from the affected pockets. Root planing is similar but addresses the tartar buildup by smoothing out the root. This deep cleaning clears away plaque and bacteria to prevent further accumulation that would advance the infection.
Medications like antibiotics may also be part of a comprehensive treatment plan for periodontal maintenance. Antibiotics may be taken by mouth or applied topically to the infected gums.
Surgical Periodontal Maintenance
More advanced periodontitis may require corrective oral surgery. When gum disease advances, bacteria can erode your gum tissue and bone, leading to tooth loss. Bone grafting helps correct this by adding volume and density to your bone. Bone material can be taken from other parts of your body, bought from human or animal tissue banks, or made synthetically. Tissue grafting may also be used to fortify receding gums, which cannot grow back independently.
Other surgical procedures can remove tartar and reduce the periodontal pockets. As a result of this treatment, bacteria have less chance of accumulating.
When Gum Disease Leads to Tooth Loss
You can live with periodontal disease, but it can impact your quality of life. In severe cases where the root is exposed due to receding gums, or there is significant bone loss, teeth can loosen and fall out. Other instances require Dr. Ney to remove the tooth to stop the infection from spreading. If a tooth extraction is needed, the entire tooth is removed from the socket, leaving a vulnerable gap. Even a single removed tooth can cause other teeth in your mouth to shift toward the gap. The shifting leads to a misaligned bite and chewing challenges.
Dr. Ney specializes in replacing patients’ missing teeth with revolutionary mini dental implants. The implant is a small titanium screw driven into the jawbone. On one end of the screw is a ball that connects to a prosthetic crown, bridge, or denture with a rubber O-ring. Mini implants provide a long-lasting solution because, unlike a natural tooth, the prosthetic can’t decay.
Mini implants are the first choice in treatment for a missing tooth because of the many benefits they offer, especially when compared to traditional dental implants:
- Small size and simple design: A mini implant has fewer pieces than a traditional implant and is less than 3 mm in diameter—half the size of a conventional implant.
- Minimally invasive: Because the implant is so small, Dr. Ney can place it in a minimally invasive procedure. Traditional implant placement is more complicated due to the implant’s size and components. Many patients are not eligible for traditional implants because the size requires more jawbone, leading some to require a bone grafting procedure first. Those with narrower jaws can still be good candidates for mini implants.
- Instant results: Once the implant is placed, Dr. Ney can connect the prosthetic crown, offering an instant result. Conversely, traditional implants must fuse with the jawbone before the artificial tooth can be connected, which can take months.
- Quick healing: Most patients resume their normal routines in 24-48 hours.
- Cost-effective: Because of the streamlined design, small size, and fewer procedure steps, mini dental implants are a more budget-friendly tooth replacement option than traditional implants.
As a dedicated implant dentist, Dr. Ney can transform your smile so your gaps don’t hold you back.
Periodontal Maintenance Protects Your Gums
Contact us today to get the expert care you deserve. Dr. David P. Ney, DDS, has treated residents in Harrisburg, NC for 25 years, compassionately serving patients with differing conditions and dental goals. With various periodontal maintenance and restorative treatments, you can count on Dr. Ney to help you achieve a healthy and radiant smile.