Harrisburg, PA Dentist
Ernest Fontaine DDS
4221 Derry St
Harrisburg, PA 17111

(717) 564-1310
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Posts for: February, 2018

By Ernest Fontaine, D.D.S.
February 13, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

What's the leading cause of tooth loss among American adults? if you guessed tooth decay, you're wrong. The Centers for Disease Control periodontal diseasein Atlanta state that it's gum disease. Yes, what people disregard as just a little blood in the bathroom sink can be an infection that degrades gum tissue and bone and also causes harmful systemic effects such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke and more. What's to be done? Your Harrisburg, PA, dentist, Dr. Ernest Fontaine, performs non-surgical periodontal therapy to restore gums to vibrant and long-lasting health.

What gum disease looks like

To some people, it looks like nothing, but your Harrisburg dentist takes immediate notice of common signs of gum problems such as:

  • Bleeding
  • Puffiness
  • Redness
  • Bad breath
  • Gum pockets deeper than 3 mm
  • Gums pulling away from tooth surfaces
  • Change in dental bite or in the fit of a denture
  • Tooth mobility
  • Halitosis, or persistent bad breath
  • Pus at the gum line

Varying in intensity from mild gingivitis to advanced periodontitis, gum disease plays no favorites and can strike children through senior adults.

Causes of gum disease

While hereditary factors and age may contribute to the development of gum disease, plaque and tartar build-up in between teeth and at the gum really cause this infectious process. What are plaque and tartar? They are called biofilm, the carbohydrate-based food residues left over after meals and even after the most careful of brushing and flossing. Professional cleanings with Dr. Fontaine and his team remove this biofilm and its associated bacteria. Left to its own devices, however, the bacteria damage the gums and cause body-wide inflammatory changes.

Treating gum disease

Oral surgeons perform very advanced gum grafting techniques when periodontitis has caused substantial damage. However, for the more typical periodontal patient, non-surgical treatment will remove the deleterious plaque and tartar, smooth tooth surfaces and allow gums to re-attach.

This non-surgical service is called tooth scaling and root planing. The simple manual process scrapes away accumulated biofilm with small handheld instruments or ultrasonic tools. At the direction of your Harrisburg dentist, the hygienist also may instill antibiotics to quell infection and speed healing

The American Academy of Periodontology, specialists in gum disease, says that tooth scaling and root planing is very successful in most cases. Typically, after a "deep cleaning," the patient simply requires routine follow-up exams and cleanings every six months or at an interval determined by Dr. Fontaine.

Keep a healthy smile

Both your teeth and gums can thrive if you keep ahead of gum disease. If it's time for your regular check with your Harrisburg, PA dentist, Dr. Fontaine, please contact the office team for an appointment. Phone (717) 564-1310.