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How to Prevent and Stop Periodontal Disease

When plaque and bacteria accumulate on the gums and cause inflammation, this is known as gingivitis. Periodontitis occurs when the supporting structures of the tooth become inflamed, and the gums pull away from the teeth leaving deep, bacteria-filled pockets. While not all cases of gingivitis lead to periodontitis, it is a warning sign of periodontal disease and should be taken seriously. Periodontal disease may be discovered during routine cleanings and exams. Dr. Bruce Watkins and his staff in Elkhart, IN, have experience in the field of periodontics, and with their help, you can put a stop to gum disease and regain your healthy smile.

Illustration of a normal, healthy tooth and a tooth with periodontitis.

How Do I Know if I Have Gum Disease?

Periodontal disease may not manifest itself until it becomes severe. Most of the damage to the roots of teeth and bone tissue is beneath the surface, and you may not realize you have a problem until you visit the office for a routine dental exam and cleaning. However, there are warning signs, such as:

  • Bright red gums
  • Gums that bleed easily during brushing or routine cleanings
  • Occasional pain around the gums
  • Bad breath

Our cutting-edge technology and compassionate dental care helps bring about positive, healthy changes in our patients.

It Does Not Pay to Ignore Periodontal Disease 

It is important to gain control over your periodontal disease. Watkins Family Dentistry can help you take steps now to prevent tooth and bone loss. Studies have shown that individuals with chronic periodontal disease have a much higher risk for conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and lung infections. In addition, many dental procedures, including dental implants, cosmetic Lumineers®, and dental bridges, require a healthy set of gums for a successful result. If gum disease is present, periodontal treatment will be required before other treatments can begin.

Periodontal Disease Treatment Options

One of the more worrying aspects of periodontal disease is that it progresses fast. Fortunately, there are effective treatment options available.

Scaling and root planing

This nonsurgical treatment is usually the first approach taken against mild to moderate periodontal disease. Using manual scalers, and at times ultrasonic tools, Dr. Watkins and his oral hygiene team will remove plaque deposits and bacteria from beneath the gum line. The roots of the teeth are smoothed, removing rough areas that may provide a place for bacteria to settle. This type of noninvasive procedure can be performed with local anesthesia, although you can discuss sedation options with the dentist if desired.

Gum surgery

For severe periodontal disease, Dr. Watkins may recommend gum surgery, which involves gently lifting the gums away from the teeth using small incisions. Once the gum flap is folded back, the exposed roots are scaled and planed, and any infected tissue is cleared away. The flap is then sutured snugly back into place against the surface of the teeth. If there is not enough remaining healthy tissue, grafts or tissue-stimulating proteins may be used. 

Laser surgery is another way to remove diseased gum tissue and expose the roots of the teeth for cleaning. It is less invasive and often results in reduced bleeding, swelling, and discomfort. Dr. Watkins can discuss the different options available to you during your consultation.

Why Choose Watkins Family Dentistry?

Dr. Watkins wants every patient to feel comfortable and confident during their dental procedure. His use of cutting-edge technology and compassionate dental care helps bring about positive, healthy changes in his patients. He is a member of several dental organizations and has received advanced training in dental implants and bone grafting. Watkins Family Dentistry wants to make your visit as relaxing and pleasant as possible. For those who need it, we offer sedation dentistry options, such as premedication and nitrous oxide.

Join Our Dental Family Today

With flexible office hours and a variety of payment options including CareCredit® and LendingClub® financing, Watkins Family Dentistry is proud to provide Elkhart residents with general, cosmetic, and periodontal dental treatments. Join our family today by calling (574) 293-9832 or send us a message to schedule your appointment. 

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(574) 293-9832

Watkins Family Dentistry

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Elkhart Office

(574) 293-9832

205 E Jackson Blvd
Elkhart, IN 46516