Treat Gum Disease
Gum disease – the leading cause of tooth loss
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is very sneaky. The early signs of problems are so hard to detect that four out of five people are thought to be unaware they have the condition. This is alarming because gum disease is twice as likely to cost a person his or her tooth or teeth as tooth decay.
Tooth loss and the pain of infection are only part of the concern surrounding gum disease. This condition is also being consistently evaluated for links to serious health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, bacterial pneumonia, stroke, and increased pregnancy risks. Research is ongoing to determine the role that periodontal disease, with its chronic inflammation, plays in the development and management of these other conditions.
The importance of preventive care cannot be overstated. Periodontal disease is not curable. Once you have it, you can only manage it throughout your lifetime. If not properly treated, periodontal disease eventually destroys the underlying bone structure that stabilizes teeth. Dr. Wright works with patients on an individual basis to manage gum disease through advanced care, a healthy diet, and good oral hygiene practices.
What leads to periodontal disease?
The chronic inflammatory condition of periodontal disease affects the soft tissues that surround teeth. The onset of inflammation begins with plaque, a white/yellow substance that sticks to the teeth. Plaque contains saliva, food debris, and bacteria. When we brush our teeth, the goal is to remove this substance, and the bacteria that reside within it. Failure to remove plaque allows the substance to harden into calculus, or tartar. Tartar is the old plaque colony.
Both plaque and tartar house legions of bacteria, living organisms that, like any living organism, eats and excretes. The waste excreted by oral bacteria is toxic to oral tissues. The colonization of bacteria produces inflammation and infection that causes the gums to swell, bleed, and pull away from the teeth. As gums pull away, bacteria move into the pockets (periodontal pockets), where infection is more difficult to treat.
Signs of concern
Because the early detection of periodontal disease is vital to proper management, it is important to maintain regular dental visits. Through skilled eyes and using microscopic surgical loupes, Dr. Gary Simms, DDS can diagnose periodontal disease quickly, leading to prompt treatment and a personalized management plan.
If it has been some time since you have seen a dentist, or if you notice any of the following symptoms, we encourage you to contact Metro Decatur Dental Grou PC for your appointment right away:
Swelling or redness in gum tissue
Tenderness or sensitivity
Persistent bad breath
Teeth seem loose, or bite feels different
Gums have receded, or teeth seem longer
Pus is present at the gum line
Diagnosis and treatment
During routine examinations, Dr. Gary Simms, DDS uses a small instrument to measure any existing pockets between the teeth and gum tissue. The depth of the pockets should measure no more than three millimeters, and gums should not bleed upon examination. The depth of periodontal pockets is indicative of the severity of infection, and helps us determine the right course of action.
When periodontal disease is detected, our skilled hygienist will perform deep cleaning, which is called scaling and root planing, or S & RP. This process may be performed with local anesthetic for improved comfort. We also use strong topical anesthetic and have had great results with no shots. The intent of root scaling is to remove harmful microorganisms from the area at and beneath the gum-line. Using specialized instruments, sometimes with ultrasonic technology, our hygienist will eliminate bacteria-harboring plaque and tartar, and may irrigate the pockets with an antimicrobial agent. Scaling and root planing is the process of smoothing the root surface of a tooth that has become indented with bacteria and debris. Smoothing the surface allows gum tissue the opportunity to heal and reconnect with the tooth. Depending on the severity of infection, topical medication may also be administered into periodontal pockets for optimal healing.
Gum health is regularly assessed at routine dental visits to ensure pockets remain at an appropriate measurement. Should periodontal pockets remain at a concerning level, your dentist will discuss options for further treatment. Advanced treatments may include laser therapy, localized antibiotics, pocket reduction surgery, or even tooth replacement with dental implants. Ideally, we can work together to help you avoid the dangers of advanced periodontal disease through preventive treatment and ongoing management.
Metro Decatur Dental Group PC has the comprehensive service menu to help you keep your smile looking and feeling its best. Call us for your visit with Dr. Gary Simms, DDs, 404-292-3133 or stop by our Decatur, Georgia office servicing DeKalb County residents.
Dr Simms is very gentle and honestly cares about the well being of his patients. The staff is young but very friendly. I would recommend this dental office to all. You have to overlook the premises though as they are going about a new face-lift to better benefit their patients.
Staff very friendly! Doctor Simms and the rest of the staff make sure you’re comfortable before any procedures are done!
I like it at this dentist office the staff is very friendly and I had fun chatting with the staff there. They are informative when you ask a question, and they work with you meaning rather than give you a date, they ask when do YOU want to come in.
I would like to thank Dr. Simms for giving me the opportunity of working in the dentistry environment, even though my relationship with the practice was cut short due to the immediately leave from Georgia. I just want to say thank you for being a great leader and boss and keep up the good success.