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Treatment Methods for Gingivitis and Periodontitis

January 8th, 2019

Treatments for Gum Disease

When treating gum disease, the goal is to eliminate plaque, reduce bacterial activity, and protect the teeth from further damage. The specific therapies your dentist recommends will depend on your particular circumstances. Most treatment, however, involves some or all of the following procedures.

Scaling and root planing (debridement). Your dentist or hygienist removes accumulated plaque and tartar above and below the gum line with either a manual scaler or an ultrasonic instrument. This is known as scaling or deep scaling. Depending on the circumstances, he or she may also scoop damaged tissue out of the bottom of the gum pockets to spur the healing process (a procedure called curettage). The final step—root planing—smooths the root surface so that the gum tissue can reattach more easily. These procedures are usually performed under local anesthesia.

Drug therapy. Short courses of oral antibiotics, as well as antibiotic and antiseptic medications applied directly to the gums, can reduce bacteria and inflammation. For example, the medication Periostat helps halt disease progression by blocking the enzyme that attacks tooth and gum tissue. In some cases of moderate disease, drug therapy along with regular debridement can avert the need for surgery.

Surgery. Occasionally with moderate to advanced disease, the periodontist must surgically remove the degenerated gum tissue and reduce the depth of the pocket before the tooth root can be properly cleaned. Surgery is recommended only in cases where it will prevent the loss of the tooth and when more conservative measures have failed to stop the progression of the disease.

Types of Gum Surgery

If more conservative treatment measures don’t solve the problem, your dentist will probably recommend gum surgery. The type of procedure used depends on the level of damage to your gum and bone tissue. Generally, your periodontist will perform these procedures in his or her office, using local anesthesia.

Curettage. The periodontist scoops out the infected gum tissue. This promotes healing.

Flap surgery. After making an incision in the side of the pocket, the periodontist folds back a flap of gum tissue. This procedure exposes the interior of the pocket, the tooth root, and the alveolar bone for cleaning. The periodontist removes the infected tissue and scales and planes the root. Finally, he or she stitches the flap back into position, closing up the gum pocket.

Tissue regeneration. During flap surgery, the periodontist inserts bioactive membranes or tissue-stimulating proteins under the gum. This promotes the regrowth of bone that’s been damaged by gum disease.

Bone surgery. To reduce the chance of new pocket formation, the periodontist smooths irregularities on the bone’s surface caused by degeneration.

Gum grafts. The periodontist grafts tissue from the roof or other areas of the mouth onto the gum, at the tooth line, to cover portions of the root that have been left exposed by a receding gum. This procedure is usually done to halt gum recession, cut down on tooth sensitivity, and improve appearance.

Bone grafts. The periodontist grafts new tissue onto areas where the alveolar bone has degenerated. The graft may consist of bone taken from another part of the mouth, bone from a donor, or synthetically manufactured material.

If several of your teeth need work, you may have to return a few times. After surgery, the periodontist will cover the affected gum with quick-drying protective putty so you can eat normally while it heals.

Maintenance Is Key
After any initial treatment, plaque levels must be kept low to avoid a resurgence of the disease. A good plan includes visiting the dentist or hygienist every three months, brushing and flossing without fail, and using an antimicrobial mouth rinse.


When was your last dental checkup?

January 4th, 2019

While Dr. Baruffi and our team tell you daily oral hygiene habits, such as brushing and flossing, are essential to optimal oral health, regular dental checkups at Southcenter Dental ensure your teeth are treated to a deeper level of cleaning.

We recommend for most of our patients to have a cleaning at our office at least every six months. In addition to a thorough cleaning and polishing of your teeth, visits with Dr. Baruffi help us detect and prevent the onset of tooth decay and gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. During your visit, we will check the health of your mouth, teeth, gums, cheeks, and tongue for signs of any decay or disease. We will also check old fillings and restorations as these can wear away over time due to chewing, clenching, or grinding.

If you are predisposed to any oral diseases, Dr. Baruffi may recommend checking in with us more often than every six months. We want your teeth to get the professional attention they deserve! With most dental plan benefits rolling over January 1st and you are overdue for a cleaning, now is a great time to call us  at 206-575-1551 to schedule a checkup! See you soon!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

December 19th, 2018

Southcenter Dental will be Closed starting Monday, December 24th to Tuesday, January 1st. We will be back in the office at 7am on Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019.

For dental emergencies please call Dr. Whitfield at 206-575-1000.

(Located right across the hall)

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year

Four Ways to Keep Your Teeth Healthy During the Holidays

December 5th, 2018

The holiday season is almost here, which leaves many of us daydreaming about parties, festive sweets and the occasional holiday cocktail. It's also around this jovial time of year when healthy routines like oral health habits begin to take a backseat to holiday cheer.

For example, it is easy to get off schedule when it comes to flossing and brushing after meals, especially if you’re on the go. Another problem is the fact that during the holidays we consume significantly more sugar than we do any other time of the year, which can be bad for our teeth. But even with regular flossing and brushing, your teeth could still be at risk for a major holiday dental faux pas. To help you better prepare this season, we’ve put together a list of our best dental tips to get you and your smile through the holidays.

Get Rid of Wine Stains on Your Teeth.

While this is not the worst problem to have, wine-stained teeth can become an issue when it’s time to greet your holiday guests, or even when you pose for that family group photo. One surprisingly effective way to remove wine stains from your teeth is to eat cheese. As it turns out, cheese is not just delicious. It's also a great cleaning agent for your teeth. Cheese cleans your teeth by closing micro-pores which can keep wine from sticking and staining. If you have an allergy to cheese, try opting for white wine instead.

Drink More Water.

There is nothing worse than being stuck talking to someone who has offensive breath. It’s even worse if the offender happens to be you. In order to have the freshest breath possible, make sure you’re balancing out eating those delicious holiday hors d'oeuvres by drinking plenty of water. If you can, try to drink at least six to eight glasses a day. Drinking water helps wash away bacteria and food particles from your mouth that could be causing bad breath. If you feel like water isn’t doing the trick, try chewing on gum as it stimulates saliva production in your mouth.

Use Caution When Drinking Hot or Cold Liquids

One of the best things about the holidays is getting to drink libations like apple cider, hot buttered rum and the occasional spiked eggnog. While these boozy beverages may be tasty, they can also be painful to those with tooth sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity happens when the layer of your teeth called dentin becomes exposed. Dentin is composed of tiny tubules which are all connected to nerve endings. Essentially when dentin becomes exposed, your teeth are at a higher risk for sensitivity. If you fall into the sensitive teeth category, be extra mindful about the temperature of any liquids you might consume.

Carry an Emergency Dental Kit.

It’s always a good idea to carry a small emergency dental kit with you. This can be especially helpful during times when you’re bouncing from one holiday festivity to the other and don’t have time to brush properly. Try to include a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash and toothpicks. Having these items in your arsenal will help you be prepared for any holiday photo or event.



Article by: Cassidy Rush

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