Nearly half of American adults have periodontal or gum disease. If you feel you may be one of them, It’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Although gum disease is most often associated with tooth loss, it also contributes to a host of other health issues, from chronic bad breath to increased risk of respiratory disease and cardiac infections. Periodontal treatment is vital to protecting your smile and your well-being, and Penn Dental Medicine is proud to be a leader in delivering quality, effective care for patients of all ages.
Depending on the extent of your gum disease, your periodontist has several treatment options to choose from. Your PDM student dentist will recommend treatment based on the progression of your disease, always with the goal of preserving your teeth and your health the top priority. We understand you have questions, so read on to learn more about what to expect during periodontal treatment at PDM.
Treatment for gum disease can be surgical or non-surgical, depending on the extent of the damage. Your PDM student dentist will develop a personalized treatment plan, which you’ll have the opportunity to approve before beginning treatments.
According to the American Academy of Periodontology guidelines, treatment for gum disease should be as non-invasive as possible. This means that most cases are first treated using non-surgical methods. The most common are:
Although non-surgical methods are often effective for treating the early stages of periodontal disease, some patients require ongoing follow-up to maintain the results. More severe or advanced cases, however, need more invasive surgical treatments. These may include:
Upon hearing the news that they need periodontal treatment, many patients are concerned and have questions. Among the most common are “Can teeth be saved with periodontal disease?” and “How painful is periodontal treatment?”
The short answer to the first question is yes. In many cases, your teeth can be saved with treatment from an expert periodontist, particularly in the early stages. If you notice, for instance, symptoms like:
You likely have an early form of gum disease. Talk to your dentist, and make oral hygiene a priority. The faster you treat the problem, the more likely you are to slow its progression.
Unfortunately, there are cases in which teeth cannot be saved. If the disease has progressed to the point where it’s caused bone loss and extreme tooth decay, the tooth will need to be extracted. Your periodontist will discuss options for replacement, including implants, bridges, and dentures.
The answer to the second question, “How painful is periodontal treatment?” is that it depends. PDM student dentists are committed to making patients as comfortable as possible during every visit. During many periodontal procedures, the student dentists use a variety of anesthetics and analgesics, including nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and conscious sedation techniques, to reduce pain and anxiety during the treatment.
Reducing discomfort isn’t limited to your time in treatment care. When you leave PDM after treatment for periodontal disease, you can expect thorough aftercare instructions and recommendations for pain relief. This may include prescription medication.
All patients are also scheduled for a follow-up, to check on healing and discuss the next steps in the treatment plan.
Gum disease is preventable with proper oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist. If you are experiencing symptoms, getting treatment is key to recovery and preserving your teeth and periodontal health.
PDM understands that making sense of periodontal disease and periodontal treatment options can feel overwhelming. To help guide you from evaluation to treatment and beyond, we’re offering a complimentary PDF download, “Periodontal Basics: Treatments for Periodontal Disease.” This informative flyer helps you make an informed decision about your gum care and answers many of the questions you may have.