Gum Disease Bethesda, MD

Gum Disease An Overview

Healthy gums are the foundation for a healthy smile. Just as your teeth need routine care to prevent decay, your gums need regular care to prevent gum disease. Dr. Roy Eskow is a periodontist in Bethesda, MD specializing in the prevention, treatment, and management of gum disease and other periodontal concerns.

We can coordinate treatment with your general dentist in order to offer complete oral care. We offer many treatment options to help you both to return you to a state of periodontal health and maintain it to prevent recurrence.

About Gum Disease

The American Dental Association estimates that about half of the American adult population is affected by some form of gum disease. It is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults and has been linked to a number of other major health risks such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and pregnancy-related complications such as preterm low birth weight babies.

Types of Gum Disease

  • Gingivitis – Gingivitis is a common and mild form of gum disease that causes irritation, redness, and swelling of your gums.
  • Periodontitis – If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, an aggressive form of gum disease that can eventually lead to tooth loss. A serious gum infection that damages gums and can destroy the jawbone.  Often, periodontal disease or periodontitis can be prevented through proper professional treatment and good home care maintenance.

Signs & Symptoms of Gum Disease

Gum disease statistics chart infographic

Millions of people suffer from gum disease without any obvious signs or symptoms. This is because gum disease is a “silent disease”, meaning symptoms don’t generally appear until the late stages of infection.

There are a number of warning signs that could indicate periodontal disease including:

  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Receding gums
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Mouth sores
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • Changes in the fit of your dentures

Gum Disease What to Expect

Nonsurgical procedures are the first line of treatment, regardless of the stage of gum disease. The purpose of these nonsurgical treatments is to reduce the amount of plaque, tartar, and bacteria in the periodontal pockets and along the teeth. If the deep pockets remain after nonsurgical therapies, Dr. Eskow may recommend gum grafting, periodontal plastic surgery, or other surgical treatments for restoring gum health.

  • A series of cleanings is usually the first stage of treatment. Known as scaling and root planing, this procedure involves the dentist removing plaque and tartar from the deep pockets of the gums.
  • Antibiotics and antimicrobial rinses are also often used to reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth and help control gum disease.
  • With periodontal disease, it is important to visit the dentist frequently to monitor the health of gums and prevent the progression of the disease.

Many patients who undergo non-surgical procedures will achieve periodontal health without any further treatment. However, routine visits are essential to maintaining gum health. Patients with gum disease often need more frequent visits to the dentist to manage and prevent future gum disease.

Surgical Periodontal Treatments

Gum Grafting: Gum disease often leads to gum recession. Exposed tooth roots can be a cosmetic concern and contribute to other dental health concerns like tooth root decay, loose teeth, or bone loss. A gum graft surgery will repair the defect and prevent future gum recession and/or bone loss.

Dr. Eskow will transfer a thin piece of tissue, either from an adjacent area in your mouth or alternative biologic material, to build up the affected area and cover exposed tooth roots. Gum grafting improves the health of the gums and protects sensitive tooth roots, also decreasing tooth sensitivity.

Osseous Surgery: In some cases, osseous surgery may be needed to reduce the pocket depth and prevent the future build-up of plaque and bacteria.

Periodontal Bone Grafting: Advanced periodontal disease can lead to bone recession, which can create unsightly spaces between teeth and eventually lead to tooth loss. Periodontal bone grafting helps regenerate lost bone and promote a healthier, more beautiful smile.

Gum Disease FAQs

Is gum disease treatment permanent?

Many patients who undergo non-surgical procedures for gum disease will achieve great periodontal health without any further treatment. However, routine visits are essential to maintaining gum health. Patients with gum disease often need more frequent visits to the dentist to manage and prevent future gum disease.

Does treatment for gum disease hurt?

No. Periodontal treatments are usually accompanied by a local anesthetic. This means your mouth will be numbed before treatment begins so that you do not feel pain or discomfort. The debridement process is typically quick. Your gums may be sore for a couple of hours after treatment.

Can I cure gum disease at home?

No. You can take steps to alleviate gum disease symptoms, but you can not completely cure periodontitis without medical intervention. Rinsing daily with a mixture of salt and water can help curb bleeding gums. Speak with your dentist about things you can do to help your gums heal.