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Protect Your Oral and General Health with Periodontal Therapy

The health of your gums has a direct impact on your oral health, as well as the beauty and longevity of your smile. No matter how conscientiously you brush and floss at home, bacteria and plaque can build up in hard-to-reach areas, leading to inflammation and infection. If left untreated, gum disease can progress and damage the soft tissues and bone that supports teeth, leading to widespread tooth loss and other health complications. Dr. Len Gerken offers effective gum disease treatment at his Oro Valley, AZ, dental practice, including scaling and root planing, topical antibiotics, and laser therapy. If you require gum surgery to address advanced periodontitis, Dr. Gerken can refer you to a trusted specialist in the area.

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal, or gum disease, is a chronic inflammatory condition. It is caused by excessive oral bacteria that impacts the soft tissue and eventually the ligaments and bone supporting the teeth. Gum disease is widespread in the United States. In fact, a 2012 study reported that nearly half of American adults suffer from periodontal disease. 

Diagram of healthy gums vs. periodontitis

Gum disease causes the gums to pull away from the teeth, creating pockets which can harbor harmful bacteria. 

The most common symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Swollen, red, or tender gums
  • Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or eating
  • Pain or sores in the mouth
  • Gum recession
  • Loose teeth
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Changes to your bite

Gum health can also affect systemic health. Research has linked periodontal disease to other chronic inflammatory conditions, including diabetes and heart disease. Prevention is key, and Dr. Gerken offers regular dental cleanings and checkups which can deter periodontal disease from developing.

Stages of Gum Disease

The first stage of periodontal disease, called gingivitis, is caused by the formation of plaque along the gum line. Gingivitis is the only form of gum disease that is reversible with timely diagnosis and professional treatment. Left unchecked, gingivitis can advance to periodontitis, as bacteria flourishes and causes the gums to recede from the teeth. This process creates pockets around the teeth, which can harbor more bacteria and jeopardize the foundation of your smile. Infection can also cause the bone and connective tissues that hold teeth in place to break down, leading to tooth loss.

Non-Surgical Periodontal Therapy

Dr. Gerken offers several forms of non-surgical treatment to address various stages of gum disease. We often perform scaling and root planing, also called a deep cleaning, to treat earlier stages of the condition. This non-surgical procedure involves removing plaque and tartar from below the gum line and smoothing the dental roots to discourage the accumulation of bacteria. Our office is equipped with an ultrasonic cleaning system, which enables us to perform a deep cleaning more efficiently and effectively.

We often use dental lasers to treat compromised gum tissue while leaving surrounding areas unaffected. Patients can then enjoy more comfortable treatment with a lower risk of side effects. 

We may also incorporate laser therapy into your treatment. This advanced device can eliminate compromised gum tissue without impacting surrounding healthy tissue. Soft tissue lasers also minimize bleeding and discomfort, as well as reduce recovery time. After a deep cleaning, we may also apply antibiotics to the treated site to further combat the infection. 

Reach Out Today

If you are experiencing signs of gum disease, take action today. Periodontal therapy can preserve not only your oral health but your overall well-being. We encourage you to call us at (520) 498-0500 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with Dr. Gerken.

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The best dental office. Extremely professional and yet very personal, targeted care. They always make me feel so welcome and stress my dental health is of the utmost importance. Dr. Gerken may be the best dentist in southern Arizona. I recommend him to anyone who has fears or qualms about seeing the dentist. You will be absolutely amazed.

-Alexis C.