Your gums play a crucial role in your oral health – although they can go overlooked at times. Ensure that your gums are healthy and disease-free to help combat tooth loss and avoid other consequences of periodontal disease. The best prevention? Scheduling routine dental exams with our team.
Causes of Periodontal Disease
Gum disease takes hold when plaque builds up at the gum line. As the plaque persists and hardens into tartar, the gums become irritated. Additional bacteria gathers and continues to attack the gums. The first stage of periodontal disease, gingivitis, takes hold when the gums have become inflamed.
If gingivitis continues unchecked, it will develop into periodontitis. This more serious condition attacks both the soft tissues and the bone holding teeth in your jaws. The disease can continue to worsen, leading to tooth loss and other long-term consequences. Emerging research is continuing to explore connections between periodontal disease and heart disease, diabetes, issues during pregnancy, stroke and more.
Gingivitis is often subtle, and difficult for the untrained eye to notice. The gums are typically slightly inflamed and may bleed when touched. The best way to avoid gingivitis is to visit your dentist twice a year so that your hygienist and dentist can spot the warning signs. We will also help you adjust your brushing and flossing to prevent future plaque buildup.
Periodontal Disease Symptoms
Like gingivitis, periodontitis can be tough to spot. But as periodontal disease worsens, some of these symptoms may appear:
Bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
Receding gums exposing tooth roots
Sensitive teeth and gums
Gums separating from the teeth, with pockets forming between teeth and gums
If you are noticing any of these symptoms, contact us right away to schedule an appointment.
How Do You Treat Periodontal Disease?
Gum disease requires both immediate and longer-term care. Dr. Khaghany-Duffy will evaluate your teeth and determine the course of action that is ideal for your needs. It is likely that your treatment will begin with scaling and root planing.
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is a more intensive version of the cleaning you receive at your routine dental appointments. The intent is to remove plaque and tartar from the tooth surface and tooth roots, both above and below the gum line. Scaling removes tartar from the tooth’s crown, and root planing from the tooth’s root surface. The root surfaces are also smoothed to help prevent additional bacteria from gathering in the future.
After Scaling and Root Planing
Your gums will likely be tender and somewhat irritated for several days. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water 2-3 times a day to relieve pain and cleanse the treatment area. Brush and floss normally, taking care to brush gently so that the treated area doesn’t become more irritated. If you notice that the area is swelling, place a cold compress on your cheek and take over the counter painkillers. Do not eat especially hard or chewy foods for several days so that you don’t disrupt healing.
If you’re still experiencing pain or swelling after several days, get in touch.
Other Periodontal Treatments
In addition to scaling and root planing, Dr. Khaghany-Duffy may recommend laser therapy and/or antibiotics. You may need to visit the office more often for monitoring and more frequent routine cleanings. We will lay out a long-term plan for your healthy teeth and gums and provide everything necessary to assist you in following it.
Only those with severe periodontitis will require periodontal surgery. If you’re concerned about the state of your gums, contact us today – the sooner you take action, the better the outcome will be.
What should I do to prevent gum disease and tooth decay?
Gum disease prevention is all about daily oral hygiene and routine dental exams. Be sure to brush and floss regularly, and schedule your appointments twice a year. If you’re ever uncertain of how you should be cleaning your teeth, schedule an exam so that we may make personalized recommendations.
Combating gum disease is possible – connect with us today to take the first step.