Dr. Kathleen Mullaney • DDS • FAGD

COVID 19 Protocol - Team Mullaney is fully vaccinated

Periodontal Disease and Treatment

Periodontal Disease and Treatment

Periodontal disease is a very common disease and is often not detected by those affected, who don’t seek regular dental care, due to the fact that a lot of times there is no pain associated with the disease. Some symptoms may include bleeding gums, bad breath or bad taste, and in serious cases, loose teeth. Once this irreversible disease is detected, it is very important that it is not only treated, but maintained. Some factors that increase your chances of inheriting this disease may be health conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, or tobacco use. In turn, once you have periodontal disease, research has shown that it can exacerbate the above mentioned conditions, as well as lead to pre-term or low birth weight babies in pregnant women, or even pneumonia. Studies have shown that bacteria found in the oral cavity of some who have died from pneumonia matches the bacteria in their lungs, thus leading us to the conclusion that inhaling  these harmful bacteria could have played a role in the pneumonia. Not only are periodontal infections the number one cause of adult tooth loss in the United States, but this common disease will also affect your overall health.

It is so important to see your dentist regularly, so that he or she can monitor the health of your gums. There is a space between your teeth and gums, kind of like the space between your finger and your fingernail. When a dentist or hygienist is checking you for periodontal disease, they will usually begin by measuring that space, or what we call a pocket, with a tiny probe, which is kind of like a little ruler, to see how deep it is. Each tooth will get six measurements. A healthy pocket reading is between 0mm and 3mm. If there are any 4mm, these are areas that need to be monitored and also probably need more oral hygiene attention. The dentist may recommend more frequent recalls at this point. Once a pocket is 5mm or greater, this is a sign that there is some periodontal infection and inflammation, and at this point, attention is required to halt the disease process. Bone loss seen on x-rays will also be considered when diagnosing periodontal disease.

Unfortunately, once it is determined that you do have this form of gum disease, it is not something that can be cured. Periodontal disease must be treated by a procedure called scaling and root planing, or what you may hear called a “deep cleaning”, and must be maintained at home by excellent oral hygiene practices and by having your teeth cleaned by a hygienist every three months, forever. It only takes three months for the bacteria to return. In severe cases, some teeth may need to be extracted, and/or you may be referred to a specialist.

When you see your hygienist for your regular cleaning, or as we call it, a prophy, every six months, this is considered a preventive procedure. Once you have periodontal disease, a preventive cleaning is no longer indicated and would actually be neglectful. A regular cleaning entails cleaning tarter and plaque from above the gum line and no deeper than 3 to 4mm below the gum line. If you have 5mm pockets, a regular cleaning will not reach the deposits and bacteria, which is why you need the deeper cleaning, called scaling and root planing. In most cases the patient will receive local anesthesia, or what you may call “Novocain”. The goal is to make you as comfortable as possible during this procedure. The hygienist will use special instruments to remove all of the bacteria, plaque, and tarter from your teeth, and then will give detailed home care instructions, which will show and explain how to brush, floss, and rinse properly. Usually, he or she will  also irrigate or “flush out” your gums with a prescription strength mouthwash and may also place some antibiotics below the gum line. Most people have minimal discomfort following this procedure and only experience some soreness to the gums and tooth sensitivity, which in most cases, are temporary and last only a couple of days to a week. You will be instructed to return to the office in about a month for a reevaluation. This will include checking your gum measurements again, polishing, and reviewing homecare instructions. Homecare and maintenance are extremely important, but preventing this disease in the first place is ideal. You should be brushing your teeth two times a day for two minutes each time, flossing once per day, and rinsing with a mouthwash, such as Listerine.  If you think you could have periodontal disease, you should see a dentist immediately, so they can get the condition under control before too much damage and infection occur.

Deal of the Day

* Includes necessary X-rays, Velscope Oral Cancer Screening and periodontal examination
(New Patients Only, excludes cleaning. Not billable to insurance)

Trusted in the Community

Had my first visit to Dr. Mullaney’s office this month since the pandemic and the experience was gold standard. The safety processes and clean office environment were impeccable. Dr. Mullaney and staff were, as usual, amazing. Every step was explained, the protective garments worn by staff were the best I have experienced. It was a safe and positive visit and I recommend making an appointment!!

I am a new patient. After my first dentist appointment with Dr. Mullaney, I left feeling very informed and in control of ultimately making decisions about the care and treatment I receive. The staff is incredibly kind and knowledgeable. I love that they participate in helping veterans through The Freedom Day USA program. They are committed to providing a very clean and friendly atmosphere. In addition this practice goes out of its way to bring comfort and the latest in dentistry to all their patients.

I never thought that a person could enjoy going to the dentist until I started seeing Dr. Mullaney. Her attractive and serene office and Dr. Mullaney and her competent and friendly staff make every visit a pleasure. They have a gift for making each experience smooth and efficient, with meticulous attention to the patient’s needs and comfort. On a scale of 1 to 10 this practice is a 15!

Dr. Mullaney and her staff are absolutely wonderful. They are very professional, personable and greet you by name when you walk in the door. Dr. Mullaney is very talented and really has perfected her craft. Even with a last-minute treatment change, she is unwavering in performing the highest quality treatment available. I am extremely grateful to you all for making my visit pleasant and even fun!