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When it comes to maintaining a healthy smile, healthy gums are crucial. Gum disease, which is also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums, and it is the main reason for tooth loss in adults. With nearly 50 percent of Americans over the age of 30 experiencing chronic gum disease, which they may not even know they have since it’s often painless, it makes sense to pay attention to the health of your gums.
Early signs of gum disease include gums that bleed when you brush your teeth or floss. In the initial onset of the disease, called gingivitis, the gums may also appear red and swollen. The good news is that if gum disease is detected in the early stage and treated, it can be stopped and even reversed before it progresses. However, if gingivitis is left untreated, it can develop into advanced gum disease that destroys the tissue and bone that supports the teeth. Eventually, the teeth will start to loosen and may eventually fall out.
A periodontist is a dentist who is an expert in diagnosing and treating gum disease. A gum disease expert has specialized training in treating the conditions and diseases that affect the tissue and bones surrounding and supporting the teeth. Periodontists undergo three additional years of education beyond dental school, and they are skilled in the use of the latest periodontal technology, such as dental implants, gum-contouring and root planing techniques.
If you have concerns about the health of your gums, please call our periodontics office at (703) 997-0928. Our friendly staff will schedule an appointment for you with our periodontist in Fairfax Corner.
What Does a Gum Disease Specialist Do?
A gum disease specialist, or periodontist, assesses and treats cases of gum disease that range from beginning gingivitis to advanced periodontitis. Here are some of the periodontal services they provide:
Gum disease treatment.
Treatment will vary based on the patient’s oral health and the extent of the periodontal disease. A gum disease expert can perform deep cleanings, such as scaling and root planing. Scaling removes tartar from above and below the gum line. Root planing eliminates rough areas on the tooth’s root where germs collect. These procedures are designed to control or reverse the infection. It’s also important to maintain good oral hygiene practices at home. To learn more about periodontics in Fairfax Corner, please give us a call.
Crown lengthening procedures.
If your tooth needs to be repaired with a filling or crown but there’s not enough tooth present above the gum line to support that repair, a periodontist can perform a lengthening procedure. For this treatment, the periodontist will remove some gum tissue or bone to reveal more of the tooth. This procedure can also be used as a cosmetic treatment for patients who have gummy smiles, which is a condition where too much gum tissue shows when you smile.
Gum grafting treatments.
When gum tissue has been lost, a dentist can perform a soft-tissue graft to cover sensitive and unsightly tooth roots. Typically, the tissue is taken from another area of your mouth and then grafted into place. Alternately, synthetic material may be used. Grafting may be performed to protect your teeth from further gum recession, and you can also have it done for cosmetic purposes.
Dental implant surgery.
If you are missing teeth, a periodontist can replace them with dental implants. Dental implants are prosthetic teeth that are supported in the mouth on titanium posts, which serve a similar function to a tooth’s natural roots. The implants are placed into the jawbone where they fuse in place as the bone and gum tissue heal, providing a foundation for an artificial tooth or teeth, such as a crown or denture. Implants are natural-looking, and they help preserve the bone of the jaw.
Laser Gum Therapy.
While scaling and root planing may be more traditional treatment measures for treating periodontal disease, recently lasers have been shown to be just as effective, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. How can laser gum therapy help fight periodontal disease?
- Helps teeth that are loose shifting (keeps bacteria from settling in)
- Helps treat swollen or bleeding gums
- Helps in the treatment of chronic, recurring infections
- Helps minimize bone loss around dental implants or implant supported dentures
- Provides a great alternative to patients looking for a minimally-invasive treatment procedure
Sinus Lift Surgery
Just like a bone graft, sinus lift surgery is meant to prepare your mouth for dental implant success. Oftentimes, the upper back jaw is one of the most difficult areas to place dental implants due to lower bone quality and the proximity to the sinus cavity.
So what is the solution? A sinus lift.
While this sounds more like a cosmetic or otolaryngology procedure, it’s actually a fairly straightforward dental procedure performed frequently right here at Smiles at Fairfax Corner.
Gum disease often has no warning signs.
This is why it’s important to have regular dental checkups and to take good care of your teeth and gums at home with daily brushing and flossing.
Contact us today to meet with a periodontist in Fairfax Corner.
Healthy gums are essential for maintaining a beautiful smile for a lifetime. If you need screening or treatment for a gum-related problem, please call our Smiles at Fairfax Corner at (703) 997-0928 to find out more about periodontics in Fairfax Corner. We look forward to helping you achieve excellent oral health that you’ll want to smile about.