Reversing Gum Disease
"I could not be happier with my dentist! It is such a warm and welcoming environment that for the first time I actually look forward to going to the dentist!"
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease or gingivitis, is a serious condition that can develop if a patient does not maintain good oral hygiene. It can cause irreversible damage to a patients’ teeth, gums and bone. Gum disease progresses through stages that become worse over time if left untreated.
Dr. Brad Dixon is a leading dentist in Gainesville, Georgia who specializes in preventing and reversing gum disease using advanced LANAP (laser-assisted new attachment procedures) techniques.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Gum disease starts as gingivitis, caused by a buildup of plaque and tartar in the tiny gap between teeth and gums. That buildup of tartar and plaque leads to bacteria and infection. This initial stage of periodontal disease is characterized by bleeding gums when brushing or flossing teeth. Gums may also become red and inflamed.
As the infection worsens, the gap between the gums and teeth grows larger and encourages more bacteria buildup. As the infection spreads, symptoms progress as follows:
- The gumline begins receding, exposing tooth roots, which do not have a protective layer of enamel. Cavities develop easily in this softer material.
- Cavities below the gumline exacerbate the gum disease. When they become deep, they give bacteria access to chambers containing nerves and soft tissues inside of the tooth.
- When the chambers inside of a tooth become infected, toothaches and sensitivity ensue. The solution is a root canal procedure.
- Gum disease or an infected tooth can cause recurring abscesses (pockets of pus) in the gums, cheeks and other areas. An abscess can be extremely painful, and potentially dangerous. The spreading infection could even lead to an abscess in other organs even reaching the brain.
- As gum disease spreads, gum tissue continues separating from the teeth, forming deep pockets. It can then move in to the jaw bone next.
- Gum disease erodes the jawbone just as it erodes gum tissue. This means the bone is separating from the tooth, causing it to become loose. Further bone deterioration can lead to tooth loss.
How do I Prevent Gum Disease?
Preventing gum disease is much easier and safer than reversing it after it has developed. Good oral hygiene, regular dental care and a healthy lifestyle are usually sufficient to keep gingivitis at bay. However, factors such as hormonal changes, stress, misaligned teeth, genetics and other health conditions can increase your risk for gum disease. It is important to diligently watch for symptoms of gum disease, including bleeding when brushing or flossing, bad breath and discolored gums.
Laser Treatment for Gum Disease
Today's treatment methods are more comfortable and more effective than ever before. In addition to the gentlest possible application of traditional deep cleaning (scaling and root planing), Dr. Dixon utilizes laser technology in the battle against gum disease.
LANAP is short for "Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure." To the patient, that simply means that Dr. Dixon uses the PerioLase device to safely remove diseased gum tissue and sterilize pockets without causing pain or bleeding. Dr. Dixon selectively targets unhealthy mouth structures with laser energy while sparing surrounding tissue. The pockets seal more readily and heal faster. LANAP also stimulates cell regeneration to improve bone density. In addition to LANAP techniques, Dr. Dixon utilizes ozone therapy.
Dr. Dixon has been serving patients in Gainesville, Georgia since 1984. If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease, schedule an appointment with Dr. Brad Dixon for treatment today, or contact us to learn more about how you can prevent gingivitis.