Roham Rafat, DDS, MS of Valley Dental Health is a specialist in periodontics and perio-prosthodontics. He is the only periodontist in the Hunt Valley area, and one of only a few periodontists trained in perio-prosthodontics in the greater Baltimore area.
Dr. Rafat’s specialty training allows us to provide full care for the treatment of gum disease as well as the replacement of missing teeth and other periodontal concerns. Are you experiencing bleeding gums? If you show any of the signs of gum disease mentioned below, contact us today.
Common signs of gum disease include:
- Red, swollen or sore gums
- Bleeding gums
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
- Mouth sores or pus between gums and teeth
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Changes in the fit of dentures
What Causes Gum Disease?
Periodontal disease is a term that encompasses both gingivitis (gum disease) and periodontitis (disease of the gum, bone, and other supporting structures of the tooth). Along with caries (cavities) it is one of the leading causes of 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 gum disease may include teeth grinding, TMJ dysfunction, tobacco use, hormonal changes (as in pregnancy or menopause), and poor nutrition.
How Do I Prevent Gum Disease?
The best way to prevent gum disease is with good oral health routines, regular visits to the dentist, and a healthy diet. Brushing and flossing daily are the keys to enjoying a lifelong smile that is strong and healthy. Removing plaque before it hardens into tartar can prevent gum irritation and gum disease.
During routine dental visits, our dentists carefully screen for signs and symptoms of gum 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. Dr. Izadi and Dr. Rafat provide easy, practical advice for the at-home care of teeth and gums.
Treating Gum Disease
Dr. Rafat offers several treatment options for periodontal disease. Patients with early signs of gum disease may benefit from deep teeth cleaning known as scaling and root planing.
During this procedure, the dentist will remove plaque and tartar from the deep pockets of the gum. Patients who have advanced signs of gum disease may require more intense treatment or surgery.
Dr. Rafat also uses Arestin®, a powerful antibiotic, for gum disease treatment. Arestin® is used during scaling and root planing procedures to kill bacteria deep within pockets below the gumline. Arestin® is better than an oral antibiotic because it concentrates treatment only where you need it.
Replacing Missing Teeth
As a periodontist and perio-prosthodontist, Dr. Rafat offers numerous options for the replacement of missing teeth. Among those choices are dental implants and implant-supported dentures, offering them the most natural-like aesthetics and function.
Cosmetic Gum Surgery
The appearance of the gingiva (gums) is just as important to the overall smile as the appearance of the teeth. The soft tissue frames the teeth, and it is necessary that both are in health and harmony to create a natural, beautiful smile.
If you are unhappy with the appearance of your smile or if you have a gummy smile, you may be a candidate for cosmetic gum surgery. A gum lift is a procedure that involves reshaping or removing part of the gum to reveal more tooth structure, enhance the appearance of the teeth and improve your overall smile.
Gum Disease FAQs
Are bleeding gums a sign of gum disease?
Yes, if your gums have begun to bleed, this is a common sign that you may have gingivitis. Irritated gums will often bleed due to a lack of proper oral health care. If you do not regularly care for your teeth, plaque will build up on the gum line which will cause them to bleed.
Is gum disease treatable?
At the early stage of gum disease (gingivitis), your gums will become irritated and may swell and bleed. If you seek treatment before the disease progresses, then you can recover. At this stage, your dentist will suggest a treatment to reverse the disease usually with a deep, professional cleaning.
How does smoking affect my gums?
Smoking is bad for your health for many reasons. It can also contribute to gum disease, a fact not many people realize. People who smoke have more bacteria-filled plaque built up on their teeth. Then, smoking also reduces the blood flow to the gums making it harder for them to heal. People who smoke are more likely to suffer from advanced periodontal disease, a condition that leads to tooth loss.
How fast does gum disease spread?
Gum disease progresses relatively quickly. The progression from stage one(gingivitis) to stage two periodontitis takes an average of 67 weeks(15 months). It is important to seek treatment sooner rather than later to prevent the disease from progressing and causing permanent damage.
What is the final stage of gum disease?
The final stage of gum disease is advanced periodontitis. At this stage, the disease cannot be reversed. It is common that once patients reach this stage they may lose teeth, or teeth may loosen and break away from the gums. This stage may also cause damage to the jawbone.
Can you reverse stage 3 gum disease?
Stage three periodontitis is not reversible. At this stage, we use treatment to prevent the infection from worsening, however we cannot reverse prior damage.
When is it too late for gum grafting?
In severe cases, it may be too late for gum grafting. This may occur if your gums are severely damaged, or they are receding to the point that your tooth’s root is exposed. There may also be significant jaw bone loss at this point, where gum grafting will not benefit the patient at all.
Are electric toothbrushes better for periodontal disease?
Electric toothbrushes are recommended for patients with periodontal disease. In general, electric toothbrushes offer more than general toothbrushes, because they provide added power and are safer for the gums and tooth enamel. They also are set to a timer to ensure that patients brush their teeth for a full two minutes.