Philadelphia, Main Line, and Ardmore, Pennsylvania Cosmetic Dentistry
General Dentistry Expertise
What is periodontics?
It is the study of conditions and diseases that affect the supporting structures of the teeth. Dr. Lindsey Marshall and her dental team emphasize the importance of taking preventative measures to maintain the structural health of your teeth and gums, and thus prevent gum disease.
Factors Contributing to Periodontal Disease
Poor dental hygiene is not the only cause of gum disease, although it is a common one. Other causes include:
Jaw clenching or grinding the teeth – these habits gradually wear down the tooth enamel for better bacterial access.
Other medical conditions that affect the mouth – for example, acid reflux disease, where stomach acid backs up in the esophagus and into the mouth.
Changes in hormones or metabolism – that harm the mouth.
Lack of saliva due to certain medications – saliva continually bathes the teeth, removing bacteria which are then swallowed and destroyed by stomach acid.
A head injury – that might loosen teeth or cut the gums and allow bacteria to enter.
Not every dentist offers periodontic services – some may refer you to a colleague who has more training and experience. Dr. Marshall is qualified to perform periodontic treatment as part of her general and cosmetic dentistry practice. She also has LVI training in neuromuscular dentistry and can assess whether or not jaw clenching or tooth grinding have contributed to your periodontal disease.
A series of appointments customized to a patient’s individual needs, designed to eradicate periodontal diseases, including gingivitis and periodontitis. During each appointment, our hygienists instruct patients on the proper way to prevent periodontal disease at home, providing a personalized home care routine, which is crucial to treating disease.
Dr. Marshall’s dental philosophy is focused on prevention. Her first priority is to catch problems early when treatment is quick and easy. If a problem has already progressed to a more serious stage, her priority is to preserve as much healthy tooth and gum tissue as possible.
I feel your care is excellent and at the same time you worry about the comfort of your patient. This is the best practice ever!! – Betsy I
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease (periodontal disease) is very common, yet many people know little about it and may even suffer from the condition without knowing. Gum disease is also called periodontal disease because it affects the periodontium, or structures that support teeth. They are:
- The gums (gingiva);
- The cementum (calcified covering over a tooth root);
- The periodontal ligaments (attach a tooth to the bone)
- The alveolar (jaw) bone with tooth sockets
Periodontal disease is an infection that can damage the teeth, gums and supporting jaw bone if not treated in its early stages. In her Philadelphia dentistry practice, Dr. Lindsey Marshall emphasizes the importance of proper dental hygiene and oral care.
How Does Gum Disease Start?
Gum disease starts as gingivitis, where bacteria have invaded the space between teeth and gums and damaged both structures. If gingivitis is not treated, it will progress to periodontitis, the second and more destructive stage of gum disease. Now bacterial damage extends below the gumline, starts to damage the tooth roots, and at some point spreads into the jawbone. Bacteria enter the blood stream and travel around the body, causing problems with the heart, increasing stroke risk, and contributing to diabetes.
Periodontitis is thought of in three stages:
- Chronic periodontitis – inflammation is ongoing and established.
- Aggressive periodontitis – infection is spreading quickly through the gums.
- Necrotizing periodontal disease – infection is entering the jawbone and causing significant pain, bleeding and loss of gum tissue, as well as chronic bad breath (halitosis).
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Gum disease is progressive and can advance quickly if left untreated. The gums recede from the teeth, exposing tooth roots and increasing tooth sensitivity. Bacterial inflammation leads to infection, and pus may form in the open pockets between the teeth and gums. Typical symptoms of periodontal disease include:
- Swollen and bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Loose or shifting teeth
Studies have shown that tobacco users may be at higher risk for gum disease because tobacco tends to increase plaque and intensifies the infection, making gum and bone loss more likely. It also lowers a person’s ability to heal and fight infection.
The goal of gum therapy is to remove all decayed tissue, plaque, and tartar from your entire mouth – although one must keep in mind that bacteria are always in the mouth and the trick is to keep their numbers down through daily dental care. While early treatment is easiest, Dr. Marshall can still treat gum disease that has progressed and become severe.
Our soft tissue laser makes this far quicker and safer than gum treatments used to be before lasers were introduced into dentistry. The laser instantly removes damaged and infected gum tissue and reduces bleeding by sealing the remaining tissue. Sealing the tissue also makes post-treatment infection far less likely. No stitches are necessary.
Depending on how severe the gum disease is, Dr. Marshall may do your gum therapy in several visits rather than all in one visit. After each laser treatment, your mouth will feel tender for a short while and you will need to stick to a soft diet. Dr. Marshall may prescribe an antibiotic.