Periodontal (gum) disease is a bacterial infection that primarily attacks the structures that support the teeth, namely the nearby gum and bone tissue. When detected early, this potentially serious problem can be quickly and easily handled using non-surgical therapies. If your dentist has recommended you visit a periodontist, or if you’ve noticed that your gums are sensitive, swollen, and bleed easily, don’t wait to schedule an appointment with Dr. Hsu or Dr. Hodges right away—this will easily save you from much more dire issues down the road!
Periodontal therapy is a type of dentistry that focuses on finding, diagnosing, and treating problems that concern the gums and underlying jawbone. This cannot only protect a patient from developing a more severe infection, but it can also easily prevent tooth loss, a common symptom of untreated periodontal disease. A patient should receive regular periodontal screenings whenever they go to their regular dental checkups, and if there is any sign of periodontal disease, their dentist will likely refer them to Fort Worth Periodontal Specialists so we can take care of it right away.
If a patient doesn’t brush and floss their teeth consistently, they can develop bacteria-filled deposits of tartar on their teeth underneath the gum line, which are the primary cause of periodontal disease. This can lead to irritation and inflammation in the tissues, but if detected early, scaling and root planing can stop the infection before it causes real damage. Similar to a regular dental cleaning, a small scaler is used to break up and remove the tartar, and then the roots of the teeth are gently smoothed out. This makes it more difficult for tartar to gather near the gums in the future, lowering the chance of reinfection.
Unfortunately, while periodontal disease can be successfully managed so it doesn’t interfere with a patient’s oral health, the truth is that it cannot ever be fully cured. In order to ensure a patient doesn’t develop an infection again, they’ll be advised to attend regular periodontal maintenance appointments. These will mostly consist of getting a regular dental cleaning every 3-4 months as opposed to the normal 6. Between this and modified practices at home (like having a patient use a special mouthwash), any leftover bacteria should be limited to a negligible level.
This state-of-the-art approach to gum care involves using a slender endoscope that can be comfortably inserted into the periodontal pocket. With it, our team can easily see and clean the root surfaces of the teeth without having to use surgical techniques. This non-invasive approach allows our team to diagnose a patient’s infection as well as treat it with one comfortable procedure. The gums are slightly numbed beforehand, meaning patients can look forward to an efficient and pain-free experience that restores their oral health in record time.
In cases of more advanced periodontal disease, instead of surgery, Dr. Hsu or Dr. Hodges can use a small dental laser to eliminate any harmful bacteria while leaving the sensitive gum tissue completely unharmed. The laser’s concentrated beam of light is able to vaporize bacteria without causing trauma to the gums, plus it cauterizes and sanitizes the area as it goes. As a result, a patient will experience practically no pain, swelling, or bleeding during or after the procedure.
Whenever a patient comes to see us, in addition to checking them for periodontal disease, we’ll also examine their mouth for any signs of oral cancer. Early detection and treatment is the best strategy to beat the disease, and these regular screenings are an essential tool in this effort. If we notice any signs of oral cancer (such as a sore that won’t heal, a new growth, or a discolored patch of tissue), we can help a patient by taking a biopsy and getting them any follow-up care they need as quickly as possible.