Periodontal Therapy - Torrance, CA
Fights Back Against Gum Disease
Good gum health is a crucial part of a strong and beautiful smile. And, as the gateway to the rest of your body, your gums also greatly affect your overall health. It’s important you keep your gum tissue healthy -- and Dr. Maria Galvan is your periodontist who is ready to help you do just that with periodontal therpay in Torrance, CA.
Gum Disease Facts
Did you know that 75% of Americans over the age of 35 suffer from gum disease, or periodontitis? This condition has been linked to serious heart problems, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. It’s also known to affect and be affected by blood glucose levels, meaning gum disease sufferers may be more likely to have diabetes, too.
Signs you may be dealing with gum disease include:
- Red, swollen, and bleeding gums
- Chronic bad breath
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Gum recession
Dr. Galvan provides gum disease therapy in Torrance. In its early stages, gum disease can be reversed with increased at-home care and extra visits to the dentist. For more moderate forms of the condition, nonsurgical treatment includes scaling and root planing, or a deep cleaning to remove tartar and bacteria buildup above and below the gum line. In gum disease’s most severe form, surgical treatment may be required. This all may be combined with antibiotics, too.
Scaling & Root Planing
Think of this as a dental cleaning that is specifically focused on the gums and roots of the teeth. First, an ultrasonic cleaner will be used to remove any plaque and tartar that has built up around the gum line (scaling), and then the rough surfaces of the teeth’s roots will be gently smoothed out (root planing). This will make plaque and bacteria less likely to gather on them in the future, lowering the chances of reinfection.
Do I Need Scaling & Root Planing?
In the early stages of gum disease, the condition might be reversible via very conservative means. For example, some changes to your brushing and flossing habits might be enough to get your oral health back on track. However, if the problem worsens, it is quite likely that you will need scaling and root planing. Here are some signs that you should visit your dentist:
- Your gums bleed easily when you brush.
- Your gums are red and swollen.
- You have chronic bad breath.
- There is visible plaque buildup along your gumline.
- Your gums are receding.
The Process of Scaling & Root Planing
Scaling and root planing often requires two or more appointments. The treatment has two main phases:
- First, we use an ultrasonic scaler to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth, both above and below the gumline. We clean as much of the teeth as the gum pockets allow.
- Once the scaling is completed, we move onto root planing. We smooth out the roots of the teeth so it is more difficult for bacteria to cling to them. This results in a lower chance of future infections.
We use local anesthesia during the procedure, so you will not feel pain. However, you may experience some pressure as our team is working.
Aftercare Tips for Scaling & Root Planing
It can take a few weeks for your gums to feel normal after a scaling and root planing treatment. To reduce sensitivity and discomfort, you may find it beneficial to:
- Regularly rinse your mouth with warm salt water.
- Be gentle when brushing and flossing your teeth.
- Avoid spicy, acidic, hot, and cold foods.
- Eat a soft diet for at least 48 hours following your appointment.
Soft Tissue Laser Dentistry
Our soft tissue laser enables Dr. Galvan to attack gum disease with a whole new level of precision. Using a highly-concentrated beam of light, the laser can instantly vaporize harmful bacteria located below the gum line, plus it can also painlessly remove infected tissue. Even better, it can do both of these tasks while reducing the pain, swelling, or bleeding a patient would experience during a regular gum procedure. This instrument is fast, effective, and most of all, excellent at keeping a patient comfortable.
After an initial periodontal cleaning, Dr. Galvan may choose to apply a topical antibiotic in order to further fight the infection. For this, she’ll use Arestin, which is a powder-like substance that is actually made up of thousands of tiny microspheres, each one filled with a potent medicine. After it has been applied to the gums, it will slowly dissolve over the next few days, enabling the medicine to reach and kill even the most deeply hidden bacteria.
Gum Graft Surgery
Your gum tissue cannot regenerate, and once it’s lost, it’s gone forever -- unless we perform a gum graft. Gums that have experienced severe recession as a result of gum disease, aggressive brushing, or some other factor can be made whole again with a gum graft. To perform this treatment, Dr. Galvan removes a portion of tissue from the roof of the mouth and places it on the gums to cover the exposed tooth roots.
Periodontal Pocket Reduction
For patients suffering from gum disease, periodontal pocket reduction removes the bacteria and tartar that has collected at the root of the tooth. This buildup cannot be eliminated with simple dental hygiene or a deep cleaning and will continue to eat away at the bone and gum tissue until a tooth extraction becomes necessary. Periodontal pocket reduction helps to drastically lower the risk of tooth loss.
Dental Crown Lengthening
When a tooth needs to be fixed with a dental crown or filling, it needs sufficient structure to support the restoration. If enough of the tooth isn’t present outside of the gum, a dental crown lengthening procedure can create more space for the restoration. This treatment removes excess gum tissue to reveal more tooth enamel. It may also be used for cosmetic reasons for patients who feel they have a “gummy smile.”