Gum Disease

Ellicott City Smiles is at the forefront of periodontal education and oral systemic health.

We are one of the few practices in the region certified to perform Non Surgical Laser Gum Therapy (LANAP) alternatives to gum surgery.

Gum Disease Therapy

It’s no secret that the health of our gums, mouth, and teeth directly impact the health of our whole bodies. Recent studies show a direct correlation between periodontitis and increased risk of systematic disorders, such as heart disease, strokes, several types of cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, premature and low birth weight in babies, systemic inflammation, lung disease, obesity, weakened immunity, rheumatoid arthritis, and sleep apnea.

What is Periodontal Disease?

According to recent surveys by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), gum disease, including periodontitis is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the United States. An estimated 67 million adults suffer from some form of periodontal disease. Systemic diseases such as diabetes and habits such as smoking often worsen periodontal disease.

Periodontal diseases may be divided into two categories: gingivitis (affecting only the gums) and periodontitis (affecting the gums, bone, and tooth-supporting structures).

Gingivitis

The longer plaque and tartar remain on teeth, the more harmful they become. The bacteria initially cause inflammation of the gums, called “gingivitis.” Gingivitis gums become red and swollen, and can bleed easily. Gingivitis treatment begins with a focused professional cleaning from a dentist or dental hygienist, followed by effective daily brushing and flossing.

This mild form of gum disease does not cause any loss of bone or gum around the teeth, and it is considered reversible. If untreated, gingivitis can progress into more serious forms of periodontal disease.

Periodontitis

Over time, undisturbed plaque can spread below the gum line. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums and stimulate a chronic inflammatory response. To fight the bacterial infection, the body produces substances that destroy the tissues and bone that support teeth. Gum tissue then separates from the teeth, forming pockets between the teeth and gums.

As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are lost. The rate of this process varies in different patients; for some, it can be as much as several millimeters of bone in a couple of month, while others have slower progression.

Often, this destructive process has very mild symptoms. Periodontal disease is usually painless and patients seldom experience discomfort. This results in many people going undiagnosed and untreated, as most patients are not aware they have active periodontitis.

Symptoms in the early stages of periodontal disease include bleeding, sore gums and pus formation. In latter stages, patients complain of bad breath, loose teeth, exposed roots and teeth that have shifted position. In many instances, it is only after years of living with the disease that individuals tend to notice problems. Left untreated, teeth can eventually become loose, fall out or require removal.

Treatment of Periodontal Disease

Treatment of periodontal disease involves removing bacterial plaque and calculus (also known as tartar) accumulations. Periodontal health is most predictably maintained using a team approach–doctors, hygienists and patients working together to keep the “bugs” at bay.

Ellicott City Smiles is at the forefront of periodontal education and oral-systemic health. We are one of the few practices in the region certified to perform Non Surgical Laser Gum Therapy (LANAP) alternatives to gum surgery. As with all the procedures we offer, we provide the most effective expert treatment with the highest level of comfort for our patients before, during and after treatment.

Contact us today and we’ll get started on your individualized treatment plan!

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