Dr. Ray Becker specializes in the prevention, treatment and management of gum disease and other periodontal concerns in the Columbia, MD area. Gum disease is a bacterial infection that can damage the integrity of the health and function of the smile. Harmful bacteria in the mouth feed off of tartar and plaque buildup and multiply, spreading throughout the mouth. The bacteria will eventually grow in pockets deep inside the gum line. As the bacteria spread, the gum line can separate from the teeth and begin to recede, leaving tooth roots exposed and the teeth can become susceptible to extreme sensitivity and even loss.

How To Prevent Gum Disease

The best way to prevent gum disease is with good oral health routines, regular visits to Dr. Becker in the Columbia, MD area for a teeth cleaning and a healthy diet. Removing plaque before it hardens into tartar can prevent gum irritation and gum disease.

There are some areas of the mouth that a toothbrush and floss just can’t reach, which is why it’s so important to have regular professional cleanings at our Columbia, MD dentist office. During routine dental visits, Dr. Becker carefully screens for signs and symptoms of periodontal disease. When caught early, gum disease is easily treatable and even reversible. It is important to treat gum disease in its early stages to prevent progression to periodontitis, which is more difficult to treat.

Eating a nutritious diet low in sugar, and staying away from tobacco in all forms, will also increase your periodontal health — and your chances of keeping your teeth for life.

Common signs of gum disease include:

  • Red, swollen or sore gums
  • Receding gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Mouth sores or pus between gums and teeth
  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Changes in the fit of dentures

What Causes Gum Disease?

Gum disease along with dental caries (cavities) it is one of the leading causes for tooth loss. More than three-quarters of adults are affected by gum disease, which is mostly caused by bacterial plaque build-up. Other contributing factors to periodontal disease may include teeth grinding, TMJ dysfunction, tobacco use, hormonal changes (as in pregnancy or menopause), and poor nutrition. It is crucial to seek treatment for gum disease at our Columbia, MD dentist office as soon as you see signs of periodontal disease.

There are two key stages of gum disease, each of which can have a progression of symptoms. Typically, patients do not realize they have gum disease until the later stages, when damage to the gums affects the teeth or gums become significantly irritated. This is why it’s crucial to have Dr. Becker perform a thorough exam for gum disease in his Columbia, MD dentist office.

Gingivitis: An early stage gum disease, gingivitis is typically easy to treat but may require additional at home care to prevent it from returning. Patients with recurring gingivitis may benefit from more frequent dental cleanings in our dentist office.

Periodontitis: An advanced gum disease, periodontitis can cause permanent damage to gum tissue and weaken the teeth. This often requires intensive treatment to address damage and restore oral health.

Non-Surgical Periodontal Disease Treatments:

Scaling and Root Planing:
Scaling involves removing plaque and hard deposits (calculus or tartar) from the surface of the teeth, both above and below the gum line. Root planing is the smoothing of the tooth-root surfaces, making them more difficult for bacteria to adhere to.

Anti-biotics and Anti-microbials:
Dr. Becker may recommend the short term use of a prescription antimicrobial rinse (usually containing chlorhexidine), or even a topical antibiotic (such as tetracycline or doxycyline) applied directly to the affected areas.

Bite Adjustment:
Dr. Becker may use restorative dental procedures to reshape tooth surfaces and repair damaged teeth in order to bring the bite into alignment.

Surgical Periodontal Disease Treatment

Gum grafting:
Dr. Becker may suggest this surgical procedure, which involves carefully placing a small amount of new tissue in an area where little or no gum tissue currently exists — typically recommended to prevent further gum recession or to cover root surfaces of your teeth that have become exposed.

Periodontal Plastic Surgery:
When used to describe surgery, the word “plastic” refers to any reshaping procedure that creates a more pleasing appearance of the gum tissues.

Laser Treatment:
Removing diseased gum tissue with lasers can offer significant advantages over conventional surgery, such as less discomfort and gum shrinkage.

Crown Lengthening Surgery:
A surgical procedure in which tooth structure that is covered by gum and bone tissue may need to be exposed either for cosmetic reasons (too make the teeth look longer and the smile less gummy) or to aid in securing a new dental crown.