Board Certified Periodontist, Dr. Scott O. Kissel

Causes and Treatments of Periodontal Disease

stages of periodontal disease

Table of Contents

Periodontal is a medical term that means “around the tooth” – referring to our gums. As you know the gums are sensitive tissues in our mouth that hold our teeth in place. Unfortunately, mainly due to poor oral hygiene habits, our gums can become infected. According to the CDC, over 45% of adults 30 years and older suffer from some form of periodontal disease. As we grow older, the chances of having periodontal disease increase. In fact, the CDC reports that about 70% of individuals over the age of 65 have this condition.

Causes of Periodontal Disease

Ever since we were children, dental professionals, as well as our parents and teachers, have been telling us that we need to take care of our teeth! It seems that almost half of us haven’t really followed this simple piece of advice. As we grow older, the years of neglect and improper care of our teeth start to appear in the form of periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease is basically caused by bacteria, mucus and other particles present in our mouth which combine to form plaque. With proper brushing and flossing, plaque can be removed from our teeth and gums but if it is not properly removed, it can harden and become tartar which cannot be cleaned with simple brushing. Tartar can only be removed by professional cleaning treatments like scaling and root planing which are performed by experienced periodontists. These procedures are the most effective way to remove all bacteria and toxins, from your teeth and roots, and to smooth over your roots’ surfaces, making it harder for plaque to stick to the roots in the future.

Additional risk factors have also been identified as contributing to periodontal disease. These include heredity, smoking, stress, medications, poor nutrition, and diseases such as diabetes.

1. There is evidence that you can be predisposed to periodontal disease, however, it doesn’t mean that if you maintain proper oral hygiene you will suffer from it. 

2. Smoking can also contribute to the development and progression of gum disease since scientists have found in the mouths of smokers the most damaging bacteria to the gums. 

3. Another risk factor is stress. It is well-known that our bodies’ ability to fight off infection, including periodontal disease, is weakened when we are under stress. 

4. Additionally, certain medications can have adverse effects on our oral health, therefore we need to inform our dental care providers about them and any changes we experience in our health after taking them. 

5. If your diet is poor in vital nutrients, it won’t provide the necessary vitamins and minerals your body needs to build up its immune system in order to fight off infection effectively. This means that your body will not be able to deal with periodontal disease since it begins as an infection.

6. Diabetes increases the risk of gum disease, especially amongst those with uncontrolled diabetes. Not only may these bacterial infections of the mouth result in tooth decay and tooth loss, but they can also make it more difficult for your body to process insulin and control your diabetes and blood sugar levels. If you’re a diabetic, you can prevent your risk of developing gum disease by controlling your blood sugar levels and practicing proper oral hygiene.

Treatments for Periodontal Disease

If you have any of the signs of periodontal disease, you have to visit a skilled and board-certified periodontist like periodontist Dr. Kissel as soon as possible. Periodontists are experts in treating periodontal disease using both non-surgical treatments and periodontal plastic surgery procedures. Dr. Kissel’s office is equipped with the latest oral health care technology, and every aspect of his practice has been designed to provide his patients with the best experience possible. He is able to provide you with the most effective specialized teeth cleanings to remove built-up plaque and tartar, and gum treatments to treat receding gums.

Scaling and Root Planing Using the Periscope

Perioscope Machine with an Image of a Black and White Circular Symbol Eye On Screen
Periscope – Microscope

The most common non-surgical treatment for the early stages of periodontal disease is scaling and root planing. Scaling removes plaque, tartar, and bacteria through a deep cleaning process that focuses on tooth roots. Root planing smoothens over your roots’ surfaces, making it harder for plaque to stick to the roots in the future. Most patients can find relief and see improvement from this one treatment.

Dr. Kissel is one of the few periodontists who uses a Periscope (a powerful microscope that can magnify your teeth’s surface area from 24-48x) to conduct scaling and planing. The increased magnification allows him to see below the gum line during this minimally invasive procedure. Using advanced lighting, video, and magnification, Dr. Kissel can effectively remove tartar, plaque, and bacteria, thereby eliminating the need for surgery.

After your scaling and root planing procedure, a series of aftercare checkups will follow to check your mouth’s progress of healing from periodontitis and returning to a normal, healthy state. Fortunately, for most patients, their gums return to a healthy pink color and reattach to their teeth on their own, without the need for additional surgical intervention.

LANAP Laser Treatment Using the Periscope

If your periodontal disease has advanced, you may require treatment with the LANAP Laser, also conducted with the aid of a Periscope. Dr. Kissel is one of the first periodontists in the area to specialize in this unique combination treatment method. Using the LANAP Laser, Dr. Kissel is able to destroy bacteria and diseased tissue. He also breaks up tartar deposits in the gumline and uses techniques to encourage reattachment of gum tissue and bone regeneration. Since this method is minimally invasive, there is no cutting or sutures involved.

Dr. Kissel is able to effectively remove more tartar and significantly increase the likelihood of reattachment of gum tissue or regeneration of bone to your tooth. This extremely precise laser targets and eliminates bacteria between the gum and teeth, consequently, you are less likely to need follow-up surgery and more likely to control periodontal disease.

Gum Grafting Using Microsurgery

In severe cases of periodontal disease, Dr. Kissel may need to perform gum graft surgery to achieve the best results. This treatment method may be necessary for patients whose gums have receded so much that their tooth roots are exposed. Gum grafting covers the exposed tooth root with soft tissue, allowing the gum to function properly. 

Gum grafting as performed by Dr. Kissel is minimally invasive because he uses microsurgical techniques to repair gums and successfully treat periodontitis. By using microsurgery techniques, Dr. Kissel provides an easier, less painful surgery for his patients that makes it faster for them to heal. What’s more, since he uses clear stitches and with microsurgery you will not require surgical dressing, nobody will notice that you have had this procedure.

If you are concerned that you may have periodontal disease and would like to learn more about the causes and treatments of periodontal disease, call Dr. Kissel’s periodontic office in Manhattan, New York at (212) 702-9088 or contact us online to schedule your consultation. Dr. Kissel will develop a personalized gum disease treatment program to save your teeth and help you reclaim your beautiful smile.

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