Drs. Joe McIntyre and Dan Whiting offer periodontal care at our offices in Harrisonburg and Bridgewater, VA, to identify and address issues such as gum disease as early as possible. At Smiles for Life, we can also treat the effects of gum disease, such as gum recession and tooth loss, with a variety of restorative treatments. When the buildup of plaque and bacteria are not treated in a timely manner, the resulting gum disease (periodontitis) begins to affect the health of your teeth, gums, and jawbone. If detected early, our dentists can typically restore your oral health with scaling and root planing treatments, in addition to antibiotic medication. However, because research suggests this chronic condition can increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke if left untreated, it is crucial to address the problem as soon as possible.
Symptoms of Periodontitis
The early signs of gum disease often go unnoticed, which is why it is important to see your dentist for regular exams and cleanings every six months. Symptoms of gum disease include:
- Red, swollen, or receding gums
- Visibly infected gums
- Tooth and gum sensitivity
- Bleeding gums that worsen when brushing and flossing
- A bad taste in your mouth
- Persistent bad breath
- Loose teeth
Gum disease affects more than gum tissue. It can also compromise your teeth and jawbone.
What to Expect during Your Consultation
When you visit us for your initial consultation, your dentist will first examine your teeth, gums, and jawbone with a CT (computerized tomography) scanner to assess your oral health health and look for signs of gingivitis, periodontal pockets, and other dental issues.
If detected early, we can typically treat periodontal issues with scaling and root planing treatments, in addition to antibiotic medication.
If your doctor detects gum disease, the most common treatment for mild to moderate periodontitis is scaling and root planing. During this procedure, your gum line will be numbed with local anesthesia. For patients who suffer from dental phobia or a condition that makes it difficult to sit still, we can provide warm blankets and sedation, if necessary.
We will gently remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria along the gum line and surface of the tooth with a scaling device. Next, we will carefully smooth the rough spots along the tooth roots prevent future accumulation of harmful bacteria. If necessary, your dentist may also apply an antibacterial gel in order to treat and prevent any further infection. Though we will use gentle techniques and tools to prevent further irritation to your gums, you may experience some swelling and sensitivity for a few days after your treatment.
Preventing Gum Disease
The leading cause of gum disease is poor dental hygiene. The best way to prevent periodontitis from occurring is to:
- Brush your teeth twice a day
- Rinse daily with an antibacterial mouth wash
- Floss at least once a day
- Limit your intake of sugar and starches
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol
- Attend biannual checkups with your dentist
Contact Us Today
If you are experiencing any symptoms of gum disease, we want to be a part of your dental health solution. To schedule a consultation or to learn more about periodontal care and treatment options, contact us online today or call (540) 828-2312 to schedule your consultation.