Did your dentist tell you that you have periodontitis? You’re not alone. About 42% of American adults over age 30 have it, and it’s normal to have questions about what the diagnosis means for your health.

Periodontitis, or gum disease, is a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissues inside your mouth, and without intervention, it can destroy the bone that supports your teeth. The good news? Treatment can make a big difference.

Paul Fuentes, DDS, DABP, Andrew Peterson, DMD, MS, and our team at Arcadia Perio are here to help you understand your periodontitis diagnosis, so you can start the treatment you need to improve your oral health.

The basics of periodontitis

The term “gum disease” generally includes two different conditions: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the initial stage of gum disease that only affects your gums, but periodontitis involves the underlying bone and supporting tissues.

It’s the result of bacteria buildup in your mouth, which forms plaque on your teeth over time. If you don’t remove plaque with regular brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings, it can harden into tartar.

Tartar is harder to remove, and it exacerbates the gum infection. Eventually, the infection spreads to other tissues and begins to gradually destroy the bone around your teeth. When this happens, your teeth can get loose and even fall out.

Recognizing the common symptoms of periodontitis

Gum disease is treatable, and learning to recognize the early symptoms is key to getting the care you need to prevent more serious complications. Common signs of periodontitis include:

  • Swollen or puffy gums
  • Bright red, dusky red, or purplish gums
  • Gums that feel tender when touched
  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Bad breath
  • Pus between your teeth and gums
  • Loose teeth or teeth that have fallen out
  • Pain with chewing
  • New spaces developing between your teeth
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite

If you notice any of these symptoms, contact us as soon as possible. Our team has the experience to identify and diagnose gum disease, so you can start appropriate treatment.

Your periodontitis treatment options

The goal of periodontitis treatment is to stop the infection and prevent damage to the surrounding bone by thoroughly cleaning the pockets around your teeth. We develop a custom periodontitis treatment plan to your specific needs, but here are some of the most common options:

Scaling and root planing

One of the most common treatments for periodontitis, scaling and root planing is a nonsurgical deep-cleaning procedure. We scrape away built-up plaque and tartar from above and below your gumline (scaling) and smooth out rough spots on the roots of your teeth (planing). 

Eliminating the bacteria buildup and smoothing the rough spots provides a clean surface for your gums to reattach to your teeth, so the healing process can begin. In most cases, we do scaling and root planing under local anesthesia.

Gum and tissue grafting

Gum graft surgery involves taking tissue from another part of your mouth (like your palate) and attaching it to the area where the gum tissue has receded. We may recommend this option to stop gum recession, cover exposed roots, and give your teeth a more pleasing appearance.

Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP®)

LANAP is a form of laser dentistry that targets and removes diseased tissue without harming healthy tissue. It can be an effective option for periodontitis because it removes infected tissue and also helps stimulate bone and soft tissue.

This method is less invasive than traditional surgery, which means it often causes less discomfort and has a faster recovery time.

Guided tissue regeneration

Guided tissue regeneration may be a good option if periodontitis has destroyed the bone supporting your teeth. 

During this procedure, we insert a small piece of biocompatible material between your bone and your tooth’s root surface. The material allows bone and connective tissue to regrow and prevents unwanted tissue from entering the healing area.

Periodontitis is a serious condition, and receiving the diagnosis can feel overwhelming, but it’s not too late to improve your oral health. Our team is here to guide you every step of the way. 

Schedule a consultation online or call our office in Arcadia, California, at 626-600-2009 to get started today.

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