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Periodontal Therapy – Portland, OR

Healthy Gums, Healthy Smile

If you have been told that you have periodontal (gum) disease, you’re not alone. An estimated 80% of American adults currently have some form of this infection. Periodontal disease symptoms can range from simple gum inflammation to serious damage to the soft tissue and bone that supports the teeth. In the worst cases, teeth may be lost.

Periodontal disease can affect different people at different rates and ages. Causes can range from a bad bite to less-than-ideal oral hygiene, but a serious consequence of it is that, once bone is lost, it does not regenerate itself. So, the resultant losses can be cumulative and eventually result in the loosening and loss of the teeth. We offer periodontal therapy in Portland, OR to hault the damage to oral health and start renewing your smile.

Why Choose Advanced Dental Arts NW for Periodontal (Gum) Disease Treatment?

  • Advanced Technology and Techniques
  • Scaling and Root Planing to Help Healing and Prevent Reinfection
  • Caring, Skilled Dentist with over 30 Years of Experience

What Is Periodontal Disease?

Animation of teeth and gums after periodontal disease

Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that damages the roots of the teeth, gums, and underlying jawbone. What begins as occasional bleeding around teeth when flossing can lead to far more serious consequences like those we touched on above. It is always best to begin any treatment early with the cleanest teeth possible, and that is why we recommend deep cleanings first when treating periodontal disease.

Research points to health effects from periodontal disease that go well beyond the mouth. Whether periodontal disease is stopped, slowed, or progresses depends on how well you care for your teeth and gums every day once you have been diagnosed.

How Did I get Periodontal Disease?

Animation of smile with gum disease

Everybody has a blend of bacteria in their mouths, a “fingerprint” unique to that individual. Frequently, these bacteria adhere to the tooth structure and thrive on the foodstuffs and saliva to create a substance called “plaque,” that soft film that we all associate with poor hygiene. The byproducts of the plaque can absorb minerals from the enamel and build a plaster-ish substance on the teeth called “calculus.” Calculus becomes an additional, more protective housing for bacteria, which allows it to irritate the gums. At this point, the gums will appear inflamed and have a tendency to bleed, a condition called “gingivitis”.

Left unremoved, the calculus will “grow” down the root of the tooth and eventually cause not only inflammation but also bone recession/loss. This is the essence of periodontal disease. Eventually, the support for the teeth can be diminished to the extent that the tooth/teeth become loose due to lack of bone around them.

Another reason for periodontal bone loss is an improper bite. Just like a fencepost being continuously impacted, a tooth transfers chewing forces to the bone, and that bone responds by shrinking away from the force. Eventually, you get bone loss in the area where the teeth are absorbing too much impact, either straight down or when the teeth slide side to side. This not only affects the bone support of the teeth but also the nearby muscles, which can lead to TMJ/TMD pain.

The signs of periodontal disease include:

  • Red, irritated gums
  • Gums that are sensitive to hot and cold temperatures
  • Gums that are pulling away from the teeth
  • Gums that bleed easily, especially during oral hygiene.

Any of these symptoms may signal a serious problem which should be checked by Dr. Teasdale immediately. One of our team members will ask about your medical history to identify any underlying conditions or risk factors that may contribute to your periodontal disease. Some of these risk factors are smoking, hormonal changes, diabetes, stress, certain medications, illness, genetics, and a misaligned bite.

Getting Rid of Periodontal Disease

Older man smiling at dentist

To improve the health of your gums, a dental cleaning is the first step. A common part of most of our adult cleanings is to clear away hardened tartar and calculus using scaling and root planing, a procedure known as a deep cleaning. We may also use an instrument known as an ultrasonic scaler to remove bacteria-filled debris from the mouth, which uses ultrasonic sound waves to loosen, then rinse out, particles of calculus. After this process, the hygienist will then use a hand scaler to ensure that all harmful material was removed. Once cleaned, we will then smooth out the roots of the teeth. This will make it more difficult for bacteria to settle again and encourage a healing response from your tissue.

Learn More About Periodontal Maintenance

Following this, we may also recommend a bite adjustment so the teeth come together as nature intended and so the jaw muscles can work freely and easily. This not only promotes the health of the bone itself, but also removes the irritations that disturb the gum tissue, making healing more complete, much faster, and more comfortable.

During your daily hygiene, take the time to brush, floss, and rinse twice a day. When flossing, move the thread into a letter “C” formation between each tooth. This will help dislodge any plaque. Consistently cleaning your teeth will keep not just your mouth, but your entire body, healthier. Infections in our body don’t just affect one location-- they can also remove healing resources from other areas of our body and lead to more general problems.