Periodontal Disease Abington & Jenkintown, PA

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Periodontal Disease Treatment in Abington, PA

Periodontal disease is a chronic infection of all the supporting tissues of the teeth. Specific bacteria that destroy the gum tissues, ligaments and bone, cause this inflammatory disease. Left untreated, periodontitis can cause the teeth to become loose and eventually have to be removed. In periodontitis, the gum pushes away from the tooth causing a pocket to form. The deeper the pocket is, the more inflamed the tissue is, and the more severe the disease is.

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What Causes Periodontal Disease?

  1. Diabetes
  2. Tobacco use
  3. Immunodeficiency (weakened immune system)
  4. Personal history of periodontal disease

Other factors that increase one’s risk include stress, systemic diseases, medications that may be causing dry mouth, occlusal disease, and genetics.

Periodontal infection may contribute to diabetes, development of heart disease, increased risk of premature and underweight births, and respiratory diseases.

What are the symptoms of gum disease?

Unlike many diseases, where you get an unpleasant surprise following a routine visit to your doctor, gum disease doesn’t just pop up out of nowhere. Development takes time and it shows itself all along the way. These are the symptoms that occur during the progressive stages of periodontal disease:

Close-up portrait of a sad young girl with a painful tooth, a doctor in office chairs, an isolated dentist office background clinic. Expressions of the human face, emotions, feelings, reactions | Periodontal disease

  • Gums that bleed when brushing your teeth
  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Receding gums
  • Deep pockets between the teeth and the gums
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Changes in bite

How can I prevent periodontal disease?

There are cases such as dry mouth and some hormonal changes that can lead to a person developing periodontal disease. But this is the exception. For the vast majority of people, periodontal disease is preventable. Diligent home hygiene consisting of attentive brushing for two minutes twice a day and flossing once a day is your job at home. Then it’s important to keep your twice-yearly professional cleanings and exams with the team at McDowell Dental Group.

These aren’t arbitrary timelines — six months is about the time it takes plaque to calcify into tartar on your teeth. Everyone builds some amount of tartar, usually on the inside of the bottom front teeth. It can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist. When you come in every six months, we can easily remove tartar. Plus, we can spot any signs of gingivitis and other problems with your gums before they become real problems.

What are the benefits of Gum Disease Treatment?

  1. Provide treatment for an infection formerly blamed on a patient for non-compliance with co-therapy
  2. To achieve Perio Remission
  3. Future prevention of systemic disease
  4. Possible bone repair
  5. Reduce the toxins, eliminate bleeding, and increase the patient’s immunity

Gum Disease Treatment

The main goal of treatment is to control the infection. Our hygienists accomplish this by repeatedly breaking up and removing the biofilm (plaque) that stick to the teeth causing the infection. Consistent scheduled appointments to wear down the bacteria are important in controlling the disease. By using a diode laser and micro-ultrasonics, our hygienists can treat deep pockets eliminating/killing the bacteria so the patient’s immune system can take over and heal.

What are the non-surgical treatments for addressing gum disease?

As mentioned above, gum disease is a progression. It starts as gingivitis, which means gum irritation, and is the first stage. Without attention, things progress. Surgery isn’t necessary in early stage periodontal disease.

Professional Dental cleanings

The best treatment for gum disease is to not get it. We help you with that during your twice-yearly professional cleanings. Our hygienists chip off tartar that has built up over the six months. Plaque is removed. During your oral exam, Dr. McDowell or Dr. McKinney will check for signs of gum recession and irritation. These are early clues.

Root scaling and planing

This is basically removing tartar from below the gumline. Done under local anesthesia, Dr. McDowell or Dr. McKinney uses our dental diode laser for this task called gum scaling. We then make the surface smooth so that the gums can reattach. This is called gum scaling.

Neither of these treatments is surgery. After planing and scaling your gums may be a little sore, but there aren’t any incisions involved.

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What are the surgical treatment options for gum disease?Happy smiling man looking away | Periodontal disease

In cases where a patient has advanced periodontal disease, we may have to resort to surgery. If these procedures become more involved, we may enlist the services of a periodontist.

Flap surgery/pocket reduction surgery (gingivectomy)

In this procedure, the gums are lifted back and tartar is removed. We use our diode laser to clean periodontal pockets, vaporizing infected tissue and disinfecting the area to activate tissue regrowth. The laser energy penetrates the soft tissues while instantly sealing blood vessels and nerve endings. If necessary, we may need to use sutures to reattach the gums in and around the teeth.


Gingivoplasty is a dental procedure that involves reshaping the patient’s gums. This can involve trimming the gums back, or otherwise surgically altering their shape. Gingivoplasty can be used after a gum graft has been placed and has taken, but the grafted area needs to match the adjacent gumline. It can also be used in conjunction with a gingivectomy. This could be necessary when gingivectomy removes pockets of diseased tissue and the gums are now misshapen or unsightly. Gingivoplasty can then reshape them.

As with our other periodontal treatments, we typically use our diode laser for these reshaping procedures.

Bone grafts

Bone grafts are used on areas of the jawbone that have deteriorated. The grafts are placed, and bone mass regrows, stabilizing the teeth.

Soft tissue grafts

The tissue is usually taken from the roof of the mouth and stitched onto areas where the gums have receded or thinned.

Bone surgery

In moderate to advanced jawbone loss, surgery is done to decrease craters that have formed.

What if I Leave My Gum Disease Untreated?

Portrait of a young office worker standing in an | Periodontal DiseaseGum disease is a progression. It starts with plaque buildup. That buildup of bacteria and the acids they produce begins to irritate the gums — gingivitis. As plaque builds, it begins to calcify and turn into tartar. Without professional cleaning, tartar continues to build, and it begins to move under the gumline. Now you’re moving into full gum disease. Tartar will make the gums begin to pull away from the teeth, forming pockets. These pockets are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria. Now the bacteria begin to attack your gums, the tissues connecting your teeth to your jawbone, and the tooth roots. You can see where this is headed. Your teeth begin to loosen and become decayed. They will begin to fall out or need extraction.

What’s the bottom line of leaving gum disease to its own devices? Dentures. Jawbone deterioration. Possible further health complications such as heart disease. You don’t want any of that.

Schedule a Consultation Today!

Healthy gums don’t bleed! Call (215) 885-0555 today for a periodontal disease evaluation of your teeth and gums in Abington, Jenkintown, Horsham, Willow Grove, and Philadelphia, PA.

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