The importance of dental hygiene and periodontal treatments

Keeping your smile healthy is more than just maintaining a beautiful smile—it also helps keep issues such as tooth decay and periodontal disease from causing irreversible damage! Periodontal disease, or periodontitis, is a condition that can significantly change the smile due to bone, tissue, and tooth loss. Drs. Gary and Scott Pearl at Pearl Dental Care in Hamden, Connecticut, can educate patients on the importance of dental hygiene habits and diagnosing and treating periodontal disease. 

What is periodontal disease? 

Also called periodontitis or gum disease, periodontal disease is an infection that can wreak havoc on the smile. The condition starts in the gum tissues and harbors bacteria in pockets that develop between gums and teeth. Without appropriate treatment, the bacteria multiply and cause the gum tissues to shrink, the jawbone to deteriorate, and ultimately the loss of natural, adult teeth. This condition is entirely preventable with proper dental hygiene habits such as brushing, flossing, and routine dental appointments. 

Does gingivitis have a cure? 

The earliest stage of periodontitis is called gingivitis and is characterized by bleeding, swollen gum tissues. When caught in this early stage, patients can reverse the condition. Otherwise, advancement can result in the formation of late-stage periodontitis, which can be much more difficult to manage.  

Why is dental hygiene crucial? 

Maintaining a healthy smile also helps keep a healthy body, as the oral-systemic connection shows that periodontal disease causes bacteria to enter the bloodstream. That carries it to other parts of the body and can contribute to other medical problems such as strokes and heart disease. The team at Pearl Dental Care will educate patients on keeping dental hygiene up to par to ensure healthy smiles for life! 

Gum Disease
The 3 stages of gum disease are gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. Gingivitis is caused by toxins irritating the gum line as a result of plaque buildup. Signs and symptoms of gingivitis includes swelling, sensitivity, and bleeding of the gums during brushing and flossing. Gingivitis can be easily reversed through professional care and good home oral hygiene. Periodontitis is categorized by irreversible bone loss that results from untreated gingivitis. The gums may begin to form a pocket below the gum line which traps food and plaque. Dental treatment and home care can help prevent from further damage, but at this stage, the results are not reversible. Advanced periodontitis is when the fibers and bones supporting the teeth destroyed. This may cause teeth to shift or loosen. Teeth may have to be removed depending on how advanced the disease has become and if treatments are not effective. You can begin by preventing gum disease with good oral health. Pick up a brochure or ask your dentist today.

Periodontal disease treatment options

Periodontal Disease is also known as Periodontitis or “gum disease.” If you have signs of gum disease, it is essential to see your dentist and start treatment as early as possible to minimize damage to your gums, teeth, and jawbone. Signs of gum disease are swollen gums, painful gums or teeth, bleeding gums, loose teeth, and bad breath. At Pearl Dental Care, we offer several treatment options designed to halt the progression of gum disease and treat the underlying infection. Our dental team will perform a thorough evaluation of your gums to determine the best treatment choices for your specific needs, which may include:

  • More frequent professional cleanings: In its early stage (gingivitis), gum disease is reversible, and, in some cases, diligent home care and increased frequency of professional cleanings are all that is needed to restore health to your gums.
  • Scaling in the presence of gingival inflammation: A thorough cleaning above and below the gumline for gingivitis.
  • Scaling and root planing: Also called “deep cleanings,” this non-surgical periodontal disease procedure is performed to remove calculus and bacteria from above and below the gum line (in periodontal pockets). After cleaning the area, the tooth root is smoothed out to help the gums reattach to the teeth.
  • Osseous surgery: Also called “pocket reduction surgery,” this treatment is performed to reduce the size of periodontal pockets that have developed in your gums and may be recommended if you have periodontal pockets that have become very deep. Our treatment for the most advanced periodontal disease cases.
  • Perio Protect: A minimally invasive treatment option that uses patented, customized trays that deliver prescription medication deep into the gum tissues to fight disease-causing bacteria, cleanse periodontal pockets, and freshen your breath. The trays are worn for just minutes each day in the comfort of your home and can be used as a stand-alone treatment option or as a supplement to other gum disease therapies.

Learn more about periodontal disease 

Contact Drs. Gary and Scott Pearl at Pearl Dental Care if you believe you are dealing with periodontal disease or want to work with a dentist in the Hamden CT area that provides education on proper oral health habits, you can reach us by calling (203) 285-8245.


What is periodontal disease?

So periodontal means around the teeth. So periodontal disease is disease of the gum and bone around the teeth. Bacteria live in our mouths,and when bacteria live in plaque and calculus on the teeth, your body’s own immune system ramps up and tries to kill the bacteria. But what happens is your immune system destroys the gum and bone around your teeth. So what starts as gingivitis or just inflammation of the gums turns into periodontitis where you actually lose bone around the teeth and your teeth can get loose or even fall out. One of the criteria that we use here and our hygienists use every time you come in for a cleaning is measuring your pocketing. The pocket is a space around the teeth between the gum and the tooth that everyone has, and a healthy pocket is about three millimeters. If you have periodontal disease or gum disease, pocketing is four or more millimeters, four and five millimeters. We could call gingivitis six and up, we would call periodontitis.


If you do have periodontal disease, what are the treatment options in the office?

The good news is we have some great treatment options for periodontal disease depending on the severity of your periodontal disease. We have a spectrum of treatments ranging from seeing the hygienist for scaling and root planning. Some people call that a deep cleaning. That’s what we do for earlier periodontal disease. If your pocketing is about four or five millimeters, you’ll see the hygienist for a scaling and root planning, which means she is cleaning plaque and tartar from under the gum line and making sure the roots of your teeth are very smooth. We may also use perio protect trays, which are custom made trays that you wear at home with a hydrogen peroxide gel, which can help improve your probing even more. In more advanced cases, we have laser treatments that we offer. Some of our laser treatments are truly amazing at getting your body to heal from loss of bone, and we are actually able to regenerate bone around your teeth, and in some cases we might even use bone grafting materials, gum grafting, and traditional approaches to improve your perial disease when the pocketing is 7, 8, 9 or more millimeters.


Once you’ve completed periodontal treatment in the office, what is the follow-up care at home and in the office?

follow-up care is critical, and sometimes you’ll hear the word periodontal maintenance or the phrase periodontal maintenance, and it really is a team approach. We can do a great treatment here, but the patient needs to have great home care as well. That involves using their water pick and their electric toothbrush and their soft pick, and committing to a home regimen that will help you create. In addition, we want to see patients at least for the first year, every three to four months after their periodontal treatment, and we find much better results when patients come in more frequently.


What can you do to prevent periodontal disease?

The good news is for most people, periodontal disease is preventable. Coming twice a year for most people, for your cleanings and checkups is critical. Having good home care and that involves using electric toothbrush, a water pick, soft picks, daily mouth rinse is so important. Not smoking and not smoking is also very important.

Actual Patients Before and After Results

Dental implant Pearl Dental Care
Invisalign, Before and After Actual patient result image 2 at Pearl Dental Care, Hamden