Periodontitis & Gum Disease

Experienced Amherst Dentist Helping Patients Overcome Periodontitis & Gum Disease

If you are experiencing discomfort or bleeding gums, these may be signs of periodontitis, also known as gum disease. Gum disease is a serious condition that can destroy the soft tissues and damage the bones that support your teeth. Periodontitis is often caused by bacteria or plaque that is allowed to amass on your teeth and gums. It’s important to maintain a regular oral health routine including brushing and flossing at least twice daily. We also recommend using Listerine or another type of oral antiseptic. In fact, Listerine recently developed an antiseptic mouthwash call Listerine Gum Therapy which is specifically formulated to help reverse signs of early gum disease such as redness, bleeding and inflammation. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or think you may have periodontitis, schedule a free consultation with our Amherst dentist today!

What is periodontitis?

In the old days, gum disease was called pyorrhea. It starts out as gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums. Periodontitis or periodontal disease is also gum disease. What we do when you come in to see our Amherst dentist is show you the areas that you’re missing when brushing or flossing your teeth. These little pockets provide ample room for plaque and bacteria to accumulate. This is why rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash is recommended after you brush and floss your teeth. We also utilize a periodontal probe in our office where we can measure the space between the teeth and gums. If needed, we can help close gaps that may be problem areas using a technique called dental bonding.

How it works is if the probe goes between the tooth and the gum, then you really should focus on more gentle flossing, more thorough brushing. If it continues, then Dr. Hamill will recommend having periodontal and root planning as you may have periodontitis. The good news is that it’s not painful. Some insurances will even cover the entire treatment. However, we also offer flexible financing options to fit any budget so you don’t have to put off necessary treatment because you are concerned about the cost. As with all dental checkups, we always go over your dental hygiene routine and we clean out all your teeth professionally. We also provide tips and pointers to the patients so they are aware what they’re doing, and hopefully prevent additional buildup of plaque and bacteria in the future.

I had a patient who came in a while ago and she always looked good; her gum tissue was healthy. It was pink. There wasn’t any bleeding. She came in to see me more recently and she had a lot of plaque that we could remove with just a regular toothbrush. Her teeth were bleeding. We feared she had signs of periodontitis so Dr. Hamill came in to do the exam. He recommended that she get quadrant scaling, which is a method in which we provide a deep oral cleaning one-fourth of the mouth at a time. We typically perform two quadrants each appointment, focusing on the upper and lower in two different appointments a few weeks apart. She was concerned because she knew periodontitis could have serious health implications. We told her why we were performing our quadrant scaling to help prevent future bleeding and plaque buildup and she decided to go forward with the treatment. Once we finished, she made another appointment to follow-up and perform our quadrant scaling on the upper teeth, and now we’re back on track with a healthy and beautiful smile.

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Periodontitis Causing Bleeding or Receding Gums

There are easy ways to ensure we do our best to mitigate periodontitis. One thing I always ask my patients with receding gums is whether their toothbrush looks the same as when it was removed from the box. The bristles should look exactly the same; they should not be mashed up or flattened at all. If they are mashed up or show signs of use, it means that you’re brushing too hard and your gums may recede. It also means that it’s time for a new toothbrush because your current brush is no longer as effective as it should be. It’s important to make sure you are using a toothbrush with fresh bristles and not brushing too hard or you may experience sensitive teeth down the road.

Bleeding gums is not normal unless you’re taking Coumadin, or another drug prescribed by your doctor which may cause bleeding gums as one of it’s side effects. Even if you are on Coumadin, it’s important to brush your teeth so we would recommend very gentle but thorough brushing, so that when you come into our Amherst dental office, you won’t have any issues.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection involving the gums and can sometimes include the bones surrounding your teeth. Other forms of gum disease include periodontitis and gingivitis. Periodontal disease starts out as gingivitis, and then if you don’t follow a good oral hygiene regiment or see your dentist for regular checkups, the deposits from the plaque turn into what’s called tartar, also called calculus. That calculus goes underneath the gum line, and the hygienist or the doctor needs to remove it with a specialized instrument. If the tartar or the calculus is not removed, it continues to spread around the root area. That is why patients will tell you why they lost their teeth, because of periodontal disease.

If you or a loved one is suffering from periodontitis, bleeding gums, inflamed gums, or general tooth pain, please contact our Amherst dentist today for a free consultation. Douglas Hamill DDS has been serving the Buffalo and Western New York community for over 20 years and would love the opportunity to put a smile on your face. Our office is conveniently located on Maple Road in Amherst, NY and we treat patients of all ages.

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