Gum Disease Treatment
We use non-surgical and minimally invasive options
As a periodontist, Dr. Hodges is a trained specialist in the treatment of all forms of gum disease. He also understands and treats the teeth and jawbone as it affects periodontal conditions.
He also received an additional three years of training in periodontics, post dental school, as well as completing considerable advanced education on the subject.
Gum disease is vital to address for reasons beyond its immediate impact on the teeth and related bone. A person with gum disease is at higher risk for a number of other systemic problems and diseases. The bacteria and inflammation that are associated with gum disease can spread to other parts of the body. Gum disease has been linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other problems.
We take a conservative approach to all gum disease treatment, which means we do everything we can to treat the gum disease effectively without having to resort to periodontal surgery.
Comprehensive exam and diagnosis
We first do a comprehensive exam to determine the type and severity of gum disease. During this exam we use a thin, gentle probe to measure the depth of your gum pockets. A gum pocket is a space between the tooth root and the gum, formed as a result of the destruction of the gum and bone.
The deeper the pocket the greater amount of bacterial plaque and calculus (mineralized plaque that has become hardened and attaches to the tooth surface) will be found below the gum line. Left untreated, the bacteria and calculus will grow and continue the detachment of your gums and the deterioration of the supporting bone.
Pocket depths of 4mm and above indicate moderate gum disease, which is called periodontitis. Pockets of 6mm or greater indicate moderate periodontitis. 8mm or higher is severe periodontitis.
We also take any needed digital X-rays, and do an oral cancer screening. We consult your medical and dental history as well as any history or current use of medications.
Once we have completed the exam and evaluated all the information, we will determine your treatment plan options. You will be presented your options in a manner that is easy to understand and we will gladly answer all your questions.
Our Gum Disease Treatment
Full deep cleaning
The first line of attack in treating moderate and even severe gum disease is thorough deep cleaning. Here we remove the plaque and accumulated calculus on the tooth surfaces above and below the gum line.
We also remove any pits, abrasions or rough areas on the root surface. This makes it easier for the gums to reattach, and makes it harder for plaque to imbed on the surface and multiply.
The removal of the plaque and hardened calculus is called scaling. The smoothing of the tooth surfaces so the gums can reattach to the tooth root is called root planing.
They are done together to remove the disease-causing material and re-contour the tooth structure for optimum future health.
Perioscope provides thorough treatment without surgery
Our deep cleanings are extremely thorough because we use an advanced piece of technology called a Perioscope. The Perioscope is a tiny video microscope that we place into the diseased gum pockets. With it we can see details at up to 48 times magnification.
With the Perioscope we can see deeply buried deposits of calculus that were not detectable before without surgery. We can then remove these deposits using special scaling instruments. Because of the Perioscope we achieve a much more thorough result while being no more invasive than regular deep cleaning. We can also effectively treat most cases of moderate or severe periodontal disease without the need of surgery. Read more about the Perioscope.
When indicated, we use Arestin® antibiotic therapy in addition to scaling and root planing. Arestin is an anti-microbial antibiotic formula that is placed into the pocket in the form of tiny particles called microspheres.
The microspheres are filled with an antibiotic which is released over time, killing any bacteria that remain after deep cleaning. This provides a more concentrated and direct attack on bacteria than an antibiotic pill operating through the bloodstream.
We firmly believe in educating our patients to maintain good oral health. You will be shown proper brushing and flossing techniques to maintain optimal oral health after treatment. You will also be shown what products can be used to maximize your results.
In some cases regular periodontal surgery is needed. Here the gums are lifted away from the tooth surface, the calculus and plaque are removed and the tooth surfaces are smoothed out to limit places where future bacteria can lodge. The gums are then reattached to the tooth so no pockets exist for more bacteria to multiply.
The doctor uses an ultrasonic surgical device that is more precise and less invasive than regular surgical instruments. This lowers post-operative discomfort and speeds healing time.
In some cases they will use growth proteins at the end of surgery to promote soft tissue regrowth and aid healing.
Gum disease can sometimes cause the gums to recede and expose the tooth roots. This increases tooth sensitivity and exposes the tooth root to the erosive effects of bacterial plaque, food acids and aggressive brushing. It can also make you look older.
The doctor grafts replacement gum tissue to restore health and preserve the teeth using minimally invasive procedures. Learn more about Gum Grafting here.
Periodontal disease leads to the loss of bone as well as gum and connective tissue. We will replace missing or lost bone using state-of-the-art technology and procedures. Read more about Bone Grafting.
To make an appointment, call our Rockwall 972-771-8640 or Paris 903-785-4832 office, or click here to request an appointment online.
Learn More About Gum Disease
Is There a Connection Between Gum Disease and Heart disease?
There’s been a lot of talk concerning the connections between heart disease and periodontitis. While research to clarify these connections are still on-going, the potential link between the two makes for yet another reason why maintaining good oral hygiene is very important.
We’ve linked a short article from the Cleveland Clinic where Doctor Benico Barzilai talks about the way the bacteria in the mouths of people with gum disease can get in the bloodstream, increasing their risk of cardiovascular disease or stroke. Those who are struggling with gum disease ought to make sure they’ve told their cardiologist and general health provider that they have periodontal disease.
Brushing your teeth and flossing routinely is hardly going to prevent you from having a heart attack…however, doing so is still an integral part of keeping your body healthy, and shouldn’t be neglected. Those who don’t have gum disease should continue to work towards preventing it, while those who do have it should seek treatment, no matter which stage of the disease they have; both for the sake of their teeth and their heart.