Gum Disease: is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it. Also referred to as periodontal disease, gum disease is caused by plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that is constantly forming on our teeth.
Some questions to ask your dentist may include:
In the very early stages – when it is gingivitis – you may just need a professional cleaning from your dental team. They can also give you some great advice and tips on how you can keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Deep Cleaning – Scaling and Root Planing
If your gum disease is beyond gingivitis, the first step in treating gum disease usually involves a special deep cleaning called scaling and root planing. This treatment may be done over more than one visit, depending on your personal needs.
Scaling: Your dentist or hygienist removes plaque and tartar down to the bottom of each periodontal pocket.
Root Planing: Then, the root surfaces of your teeth are smoothed, or “planed”, to allow the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the teeth.
Your dentist or hygienist may recommend certain medicines to help control infection and discomfort or to aid healing. You may be given pills, a mouthrinse or they may place medication directly into the periodontal pocket after the treatment.
Keeping your teeth and gums healthy after treatment
Periodic periodontal cleanings help you stay on top of your gum disease
Once your gum disease is under control, it is very important for you to get dental care on a consistent basis. The periodic cleanings recommended after these treatments are called periodontal maintenance care. These cleanings are more extensive than the standard cleaning and will help you keep your gums healthy. Your periodontal maintenance involves cleanings that are deeper than a normal cleaning in the dental office. With periodic maintenance, the amount of plaque bacteria is lowered. Then, the inflammation can get better, pockets can shrink and your gums can become healthier.
Your gum disease won’t go away on its own
Once your gum disease is brought under control, it is very important that you get dental care on a periodic basis. You have a better chance of keeping your teeth if you do. Your gum disease may get worse if you don’t!