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One of these common phenomena that not many people have knowledge of is periodontal diseases and the periodontal therapy that treats it. According to statistics provided by the CDC, approximately 47.2% of people 30 years old and older have periodontal disease. That’s millions of people! Now, did you know that approximately 9% of those people have periodontal disease that requires treatment to fix? The treatment that helps solve periodontal diseases is called periodontal therapy.

Today, you’ll learn all about periodontal therapy and what’s involved in it. First, you’ll read a quick snippet about what periodontal diseases are. You’ll be able to understand different periodontal therapy solutions and which ones apply to certain situations. Next, you’ll see the warning signs you need to be aware of that may suggest you need periodontal therapy. Lastly, you’ll learn what you need to do if you think you may need periodontal therapy.

Periodontal Therapy in Chicago

Hearing the news that you need any sort of repairs, therapy, or procedures done to your dental health can be intimidating. The world of dentistry includes many caring individuals to help restore your smile back to your pearly whites. However, it also includes many confusing terms and procedures that you might not know about. It’s helpful to know about these types of terms and procedures in case you think you may need them or know someone who does.

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    What Are Periodontal Diseases?


    There are two main types of periodontal diseases that range in severity from not needing treatment to needing treatment. The first gum disease is called gingivitis. Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease and is characterized by irritation and inflammation around your gingiva. Your gingiva are simply the area of your gums that sit around your teeth.


    The second and more serious of the periodontal diseases is called periodontitis. Periodontitis is a more serious condition where the soft tissue around your teeth becomes damaged. Gaps that form make it easy for bacteria to sit and develop. If not treated right away, the bacteria eats away at the bone supporting your teeth, resulting in bone loss and infection.

    Factors Affecting Periodontal Health

    There are many risk factors that can negatively affect your gum health. Here are the most common factors:


    • Poor oral hygiene habits
    • Smoking
    • Excessive drinking
    • Diabetes
    • Genetics
    • Stress
    • Clenching and grinding teeth
    • Certain medications
    • Poor nutrition

    What is Periodontal Therapy?

    Periodontal therapy describes different treatment options aside from your normal, run-of-the-mill cleanings you get on your teeth. Part of the reason for this is because periodontal diseases aren’t treatable by normal means. Regular cleanings definitely help the overall state of your oral health, but they don’t treat periodontal diseases.

    The periodontal therapy option you get depends on numerous factors. Each treatment plan is tailored specifically to your individual needs, and may even be adjusted over the course of your treatment.

    Different Periodontal Therapy Solutions

    There are numerous types of periodontal therapies, including surgical treatments and non-surgical treatments. Here, you learn about all different periodontal therapy options.

    Both scaling and root planing are closely related, and usually used in conjunction with one another during the treatment of your periodontal diseases. This procedure is one of the first lines of defense. Scaling and root planing are essentially deep cleaning to get below your gum line. Scaling, specifically, removes tartar from the surface of your teeth and below your gum line.

    The first part in the scaling process is the application of local or topical anesthesia. This just numbs the part of your mouth Dr. Mehta works on so you don’t feel anything while they’re getting that tartar out.

    Next, Dr. Mehta uses tools that scrape away at all the tartar. This may take multiple visits if you have a significant amount of tartar buildup. After all the tartar is removed, there’ll be rough surfaces left on your teeth from all the scraping. This is where root planing comes in.

    Root planing is the second part of the process for your mouth’s deep clean. After all your tartar is removed, you’re left with those rough, uneven surfaces on your teeth. These uneven surfaces are not only a cosmetic concern, but they prevent your gums from sticking back to your teeth.

    Root planing involves making all those rough surfaces even and smooth again so your gums can properly grow back into place. Dr. Mehta will ensure your anesthesia is still working before going back in with different tools and smoothing your teeth out.

    Again, depending on the severity of your periodontal diseases, it may take more than one session to fully finish the scaling and root planing process. However, that’s okay! It’s never a bad thing if you need more than one treatment.

    After all is said and done, Dr. Mehta will likely schedule a follow-up appointment weeks later to evaluate your gums and how well they’re growing back. This follow-up appointment is also a good opportunity to see how effective periodontal treatment is. As a general rule of thumb, individuals who receive scaling and root planing will have to return to their dentist for treatment a few times per year.

    It’s not uncommon for your gums to feel swollen and look red for a few days after treatment. However, if weeks go by and your gums don’t look any better or you’re consistently in pain, schedule an appointment at Chicago Loop Dentistry so Dr. Mehta can figure out what’s going on.

    Medication is another treatment option available to help curtail periodontal diseases. They can be used alone or in combination with another treatment option. There are two main types of medications used in periodontal treatments: topical medications or oral antibiotics. Both function the same way and work to remove the bacteria from the affected area to stop and prevent further infection from occurring.

    When medication is used alone, it’s usually used to remove bacteria that’s currently in the gums and gum line and prevent it from growing back. When it’s used in conjunction with another treatment, it’s used as a second line of defense to prevent bacteria from growing in the treatment area while it heals from the procedure(s).

    Antibiotics are commonly prescribed to patients after scaling and root planing, to keep the mouth clean while its gums are growing back into place.

    Getting gum grafts, or gum graft surgery, is a more invasive and surgical procedure that helps serious cases of periodontal diseases. Many people with serious periodontitis or gingivitis experience gum recession. While minor gum recession may not require gum grafts, gum recession left untreated for too long can progress to completely reveal the roots of your teeth. Once the roots of your teeth are damaged or rot, the entire tooth has to be pulled out.

    Gum grafting involves replacing tissue in those large gaps where your gums used to be. Because gum graft surgery is more involved, a special dentist called a periodontist provides the procedure.

    The first step in gum graft surgery is the initial consultation you get with the periodontist. At this consultation, they identify which parts of your mouth need gum grafting. They also measure the gaps between your gums and teeth to see how much gum grafting they need. Typically, the extra tissue comes from the roof of your mouth or a dedicated bone and tissue donor bank.

    At your consultation, you’ll receive different anesthesia options. Most often these options include local anesthesia, nitrous oxide, IV sedation, or oral sedation. IV and oral sedation are usually only used when you need a lot of tissue replaced.

    Next comes the procedure. Before planting the new tissue, the periodontists ensure they thoroughly clean the affected area. Then, they position the new tissue in place and use stitches to ensure it stays where they want it.

    After the procedure, you’ll be sent home with careful aftercare and cleaning instructions. Always make sure you follow exactly what’s on those lists to guarantee proper healing. Your periodontist will schedule a follow-up appointment to remove your stitches (if they don’t dissolve on their own) and check to see how you healed.

    The time it takes to recover from gum graft surgery depends on how many teeth needed the new tissue. Typically, you can expect to feel all better around two weeks after your procedure.

    Periodontal flap surgery, or gum flap surgery, is another more invasive procedure that helps treat serious cases of periodontitis. This type of procedure is usually recommended for patients with periodontal pockets too large to treat with scaling and root planing or other non-surgical methods.

    Gum flap surgery does exactly what it sounds like! It reduces the amount and the severity of the pockets of space between your gums and your teeth.

    If Dr. Mehta determines you need periodontal flap surgery, she’ll recommend you to a periodontist to carry out the procedure. At your initial consultation, your periodontist will determine which teeth need the surgery and will notify you of the procedure’s process. Depending on how many periodontal pockets need fixing, the periodontist might recommend IV anesthesia or local anesthesia as your options. If you ever have concerns about anesthesia, communicate those concerns to your surgeon! They’ll ensure you get the treatment you need that’s perfect for your body.

    The first step in periodontal flap surgery is, of course, administering the anesthesia. After you’re comfortable and can’t feel anything, they’ll begin the operation. Small incisions are made to separate your teeth from the affected tissue. Your periodontist will remove any inflamed tissue and defective bone fragments. They may even clean your roots to try and remove any bacteria or other debris from getting in the way.

    Sometimes, patients need too much bad bone material removed. In this case, a bone graft is performed where donor bone replaces the empty pockets.

    After bad tissue and bone are removed and your roots are clean, your periodontist will stitch the incisions shut. You’re done! The procedure is over after this.

    As with all surgeries, it’s important to follow all aftercare instructions so your mouth properly heals. Because the human mouth is so sensitive to injury and infection, it’s especially important to not push your boundaries too much and risk your incisions opening back up. If you ever have any questions about surgery or aftercare, don’t hesitate to talk to Dr. Mehta or your periodontist. They’ll point you in the right direction.

    Gum flap surgery takes a few weeks to fully heal. After you’re fully healed, you’ll attend a post-op appointment to evaluate the success of the procedure.

    Dental implants are typically used as a last resort when it comes to treating periodontal diseases. Sometimes, when dental problems are left untreated for too long, your teeth can decay completely. In these situations, the only solution left is extraction. Many people hesitate when it comes to extraction. It’s not uncommon to feel self-conscious about your smile, and when people come to understand they’ll lose their teeth, those feelings intensify.

    In fact, nearly 67% of Americans are self-conscious about their pearly whites! One of the options people have to update the look of their teeth (especially if they need new teeth) is dental implants.

    Dental implants are prosthetic teeth customized to fit your jaw. All the teeth are made by hand and are composed of an implant body, the post (abutment), and the crown. You can have a single tooth replaced or multiple teeth replaced.

    Additionally, there are a few different types of dental implants. In most cases, Endiosteal implants are used and involve the implant body being fused with your jawbone. Subperiosteal implants are less common and used when your jawbone can’t properly support the implant body. In this case, the implant body merely sits on top of your gums.

    If you make a decision to proceed with dental implants, you’ll first have a consultation. During this meeting, Dr. Mehta will gather all the information she needs to make your teeth. She’ll also take a look at your overall oral health and will provide recommendations based on her professional opinion.

    Next, Dr. Mehta will personalize a plan of action just for you. She’ll create your new teeth, give you your personal treatment plan, and explain to you how your procedure’s going to go. She’ll answer any and all questions you may have.

    If you need any pre-surgical procedures, those come before your new teeth are implanted. After all pre-surgical instructions are taken care of, it’s time for you new dental implants! There are a few different procedures required to successfully install all your new dental implants.

    The first procedure involves Dr. Mehta placing the implants in your jawbone/above your gums. After this heals, the posts are attached to the implant body. After the posts are attached, it’s time for Dr. Mehta to take impressions of your teeth. You’ll also be able to choose a color for your new teeth. These tasks allow your custom teeth to be made just the way you want them.

    After Dr. Mehta creates your teeth, she’ll have you in for another appointment to get your final approval. If they don’t turn out the way you envisioned, that’s completely okay! Dr. Mehta wants to make sure all your teeth meet your standards. After they’re installed, they’re with you for many years. It’s okay to want to make minor changes and perfect them.

    Once you approve your teeth, they’re placed on their posts. Once they’re fully installed, you’re good to go. As with the other procedures, it’s important to follow all post-op instructions and attend all follow-up appointments. This way, it’s guaranteed that you’re in good health and your mouth fully heals.

    When You Should Talk to Dr. Mehta

    We understand that it’s overwhelming to think you may have a periodontal disease or need periodontal therapy. This is why we’ve put together a convenient list of concerns you should look out for. These concerns don’t immediately point towards you needing periodontal therapy, but they’re good to look out for just in case.

    Persistent Bad Breath

    It’s not uncommon to wake up and be taken aback by your smelly breath. Most of the time, bad breath goes away after sufficient brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash. If you find yourself constantly having bad breath even after taking care of your oral hygiene, it’s probably a good time to give Dr. Mehta a call. Persistent bad breath is a sign that bacteria is building up in your mouth in places you can’t reach with your toothbrush. Dr. Mehta will take a look at your gum line, tooth structure, and offer suggestions for treatment.

    Receding Gums

    Receding gums are characterized by your teeth seeming longer as well as gaps between your teeth or gums you didn’t notice before. There are many possible causes for receding gums, including hard brushing, improper tooth alignment, teeth grinding, or improper oral hygiene. It’s important to schedule an appointment at Chicago Loop Dentistry as soon as you notice your gums receding. Receding gums gives bacteria a chance to deposit itself and grow inside the new pockets between your teeth and gums, which could eventually lead to tooth decay or tooth loss. Unfortunately, once your gums start receding they don’t necessarily grow back. That’s why it’s important to get them taken care of as soon as possible so the problem doesn’t progress any further.

    Bleeding Gums

    There are multiple causes to why your gums bleed. Brushing your teeth hard, swollen gums, and eating pokey food can all be a culprit. It’s not uncommon for your gums to bleed every once in a while even with proper oral hygiene practices. However, you should be concerned if your gums seem to bleed every day or from very little stimulation.

    Where there’s bleeding gums, there’s bacteria. When there’s a buildup of bacteria that’s left alone for too long, there are more serious consequences that follow. No matter how much you think your gums are bleeding, it’s never too late to start getting help. Give Dr. Mehta a call so you can get your oral health back on track!

    Mouth/Jaw Pain

    It’s not uncommon to experience jaw pain or mouth pain every once in a while. After all, everyone moves their jaw funny or experiences soreness as a part of life. However, it becomes not normal when the pain suddenly becomes worse or becomes more consistent.

    Unfortunately, there are many causes of jaw pain. However, not all of them necessarily mean something’s terribly wrong with your oral health. If you experience jaw pain that’s sudden or more consistent, it’s time to make an appointment. That way, a full panel of tests can be performed to see exactly what the problem is.

    Overly Sensitive Teeth

    When your teeth become overly sensitive, it’s a sign that the roots of your teeth are exposed somewhere. This is usually caused by inflamed or receding gums that aren’t properly protecting your roots. If you have concerns about the sensitivity of your teeth and whether you need to be concerned about it, just give Dr. Mehta a call!

    A Change In Your Bite

    A change in the way your teeth are arranged is a serious problem that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. This points to your teeth moving around significantly in your mouth. If you think your bite is different than a few months or a year ago, schedule a dental appointment right away. Dr. Mehta will take X-rays and perform other tests to determine what’s going on with your pearly whites.

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