Gum disease is a serious oral health problem. When it begins, however, it is often barely noticeable. The earliest symptoms can be easily mistaken for aggressive brushing, and therefore written off as no big deal. For this reason, gum disease goes untreated and quickly begins to progress. The longer it goes untreated, the worse it becomes, and ultimately leads to loose teeth and even tooth loss.
What Is Gum Disease
Additionally, you may also be faced with serious health complications like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. At Boones Landing Dental Center, we can put an end to the progression of your gum disease and help your mouth heal with periodontal maintenance.
The Progression of Gum Disease
Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque and oral bacteria in your mouth. Both cause your gum tissue to become irritated. When the tissue is irritated, it becomes inflamed. They may bleed when you brush or floss. Redness, swelling, and bleeding are all the very first signs of gum disease. This stage of gum disease can be reversed with better oral hygiene and a professional cleaning. However, these symptoms are either often unnoticed or ignored, so the disease progresses. Plaque hardens into tartar, and can no longer be removed with a toothbrush. Swollen gums begin to pull away from the teeth, creating pockets. Bacteria and other debris fall below the gum line. From there, the bacteria continue to attack the gums while also attacking your periodontal ligaments (the supporting structures of your teeth) and your jawbone.
As the disease continues to progress, the symptoms become more obvious. Your gums begin to recede, and spaces appear between your teeth. You may notice a foul taste or smell that does not go away, even when you brush your teeth. Your teeth may become loose and shift out of their natural alignment. Eventually, the teeth may even fall out. It is even possible for bacteria to enter the bloodstream, which can lead to serious health complications.
Professional Treatment to Stop Gum Disease
After gum disease has progressed beyond the earliest stage, it cannot be stopped or reversed at home. Professional treatment is required. Periodontal maintenance is a series of regularly scheduled exams and cleanings, during which time we check the progress of your mouth as well as clean the plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth. These appointments are important because, without proper maintenance, gum disease can recur.
It is often recommended following specific treatments for gum disease, such as scaling and root planing. Cleanings are scheduled for every three months. However, based on your specific needs, we will determine how often your appointments should be. Some patients may need periodontal maintenance every two months, while others may only need periodontal maintenance every six months.
The Scaling & Root Planing Treatment
Scaling and root planing is a deep cleaning of your teeth that pays special attention to the areas around as well as below the gum line. Because this procedure can often be uncomfortable, especially if the gums are especially sensitive, a local anesthetic is administered. With a local anesthetic, you can remain completely aware during your procedure, but you won’t feel any discomfort or pain.
is the part of the procedure that involves the use of a specialized scaling tool to remove buildup, including plaque, tartar, bacteria, and other debris from the surfaces of your teeth, around the gum line, and just below the gum line. Removing the buildup from around the gum line helps to remove irritation, therefore helping to alleviate the inflammation.
involves the use of small, specialized tools to remove plaque, bacteria, and other toxins from the roots of your teeth, effectively smoothing them. In doing so, it becomes more difficult for new bacteria to adhere. At the end of the procedure, an antibacterial wash is administered below the gum line, helping to effectively kill and flush out any lingering bacteria.
The Benefits of Periodontal Maintenance
Gum Disease & Oral Health
Periodontal maintenance has numerous benefits. Keeping up with your periodontal maintenance appointments allows us to control the growth of harmful oral bacteria. It also allows us to remove the buildup of plaque and tartar that can also irritate your gum tissue. Keeping these issues under control, we help to eliminate the irritation and inflammation that your gums have suffered. This gives your gums the opportunity they need to begin to reattach to your teeth, once again forming a tight, protective seal against new bacterial invasion under the gum line. By putting a stop to gum disease, we also help you to prevent bone loss and the weakening of your periodontal ligaments.
This goes a long way in preventing the loosening, or even loss, of your teeth. Periodontal maintenance also helps to prevent the systemic diseases that severe gum disease can contribute to, such as heart disease and diabetes. Periodontal maintenance can help to restore your smile. Your gums are a crucial part of your smile. When they are red and swollen and have begun to recede, your smile is greatly affected. The teeth can appear long. As they begin to reattach to the teeth, your smile returns to normal. This treatment also helps to provide you with fresher breath, as we remove the bacteria and other buildup that has accumulated under the gum line. With your smile restored and your breath freshened, you can regain your confidence.
Care of Your Mouth at Home
While periodontal maintenance is designed to help restore the health of your mouth, it will not be effective unless you continue to take care of your mouth at home. Following your procedure, you may feel a little discomfort. Rinsing with a salt water solution can help to soothe your gums. It is also important to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled brush. Floss at least once a day, taking care not to force the floss between your teeth or snap it against your gums. An antibacterial mouthwash can be beneficial for eliminating any lingering bacteria. You can further help to protect the health of your gums and teeth by avoiding certain lifestyle habits, such as smoking and drinking, and eating a diet of nutritious foods.
With periodontal maintenance, we can help to stop the progression of gum disease in its tracks and allow your mouth to heal. For more information, or to schedule your consultation, contact Boones Landing Dental Center at (503) 601-0610 today.