Everything You Need to Know About Periodontal Disease and Gum Surgery

When to seek professional help if you suspect periodontal disease Now! It’s never too early to begin treating gum disease. Ca

Periodontal disease sounds serious. And it can be — but only if you let it get out of hand. The ominous-sounding name is really the medical term for gum infection, and it’s pretty common. In fact, half of American adults over the age of 30 have some form of it. 

Our team of dental experts at Wappingers Falls Dental Arts is here to answer all your questions about periodontal disease. Families throughout Dutchess County have been trusting us for years to care for all their dental needs from regular checkups to oral surgery to cosmetic enhancements. When it comes to periodontitis, we can help you understand what it is, how to prevent it, and how to get rid of it. 

How do you get periodontal disease?

As with all infections, periodontal disease begins with bacteria. Our mouths contain countless bacteria — the good ones aid in the first stage of digestion; the bad ones look for places to hide and grow. That’s why it’s important to keep up good oral hygiene, which includes brushing and flossing twice a day and having regular dental checkups and cleanings twice a year. 

Poor oral hygiene is not the only reason behind periodontal disease. Other factors contribute as well, including: 

Can periodontal disease be prevented?

Yes! In almost all cases, the early stage of periodontal disease, called gingivitis, can be stopped in its tracks. At this point, the bacteria have begun to irritate and inflame your gums, but no serious damage has been done. A thorough professional cleaning can get you back on the right track, and a consistent brushing and flossing routine can keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Eating a healthy, balanced diet and managing stress also help stave off periodontal disease.

What happens when you ignore gingivitis?

Left untreated, the relatively benign symptoms of gingivitis progress into an advanced version of gum disease called periodontitis. However, the treatment and outcome depend heavily on how far the disease has progressed. 

You may notice that your gums are swollen and that they bleed when you brush them. Or you may have pockets that have formed under your gums and are beginning to lull away from the surface of your teeth, and you notice some wiggling or shifting. If you’ve been dealing with your gum disease for a long time, you might have lost a tooth or two or even some of your jawbone.

Periodontal disease can harm more than just your mouth

If you have a healthy immune system, chances are your periodontal disease will be confined to your mouth. But if you’re sick often or have a weakened immunity system, you may face bigger problems.

Every time you swallow, the bacteria in your mouth make their way into your bloodstream and the rest of your body. These bacteria are known associates of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Treating gum disease

At Wappingers Falls Dental Arts, we approach periodontal disease on a case-by-case basis. Depending on your unique situation, we may need to deeply clean your teeth and their roots, known as scaling and planing, to remove the advanced bacteria growth and the damaged tissue and surfaces.

If you have deep gum pockets that have trapped plaque and tartar under them, we may perform flap surgery. This involves lifting your gums away from your teeth, removing the built-up film, and stitching your gums back so they are tighter.

Often, it’s necessary to graft new gum tissue into the affected areas if you’ve lost some to disease. 

When bone loss has occurred due to excessive or long-term infection, we may do a bone grafting procedure that uses either synthetic material or donated tissue to rebuild the structure surrounding your teeth.

What to expect if you need oral surgery

Depending on which procedure you require, we may use a simple local anesthetic to numb the area, or we may offer you general anesthesia. 

After surgery, over-the-counter pain medications are usually all it takes to ease mild pain and discomfort. 

You should plan to eat only soft foods and liquids for a couple days after your surgery, avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercise, and use an antiseptic mouthwash to ward off infection.

We schedule a follow-up appointment so we can monitor your healing progress and remove any stitches if necessary.

When to seek professional help if you suspect periodontal disease

Now! It’s never too early to begin treating gum disease. Call us today or book an appointment online. 



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