Periodontal (Gum) Therapy
Regular cleanings are essential to maintain the health of your gums. Without consistent, professional cleaning appointments, plaque and calculus (tartar) can build up, causing bone loss and inflammation in your gums. This can, in turn, lead to premature tooth loss.
Over 50% of Americans have some form of periodontitis (“gum disease”). The good news is that there are several treatment options available to help treat this disease.
Signs of Periodontal Disease
- Bleeding gums – bleeding gums are a sign of dental infection
- Bad breath – built up bacteria can lead to bad breath (“halitosis”)
- Red or swollen gums
- Gum recession – your teeth may look longer than they used to or if you may notice some root exposure
- Tooth sensitivity – if your roots are exposed you can experience increased sensitivity to temperature or sweets
- Periodontal abscess – bacteria can become entrapped in the periodontal pocket, causing the area to fill with pus and become uncomfortable and swollen
- Loose teeth – advanced bone loss can cause your teeth to loosen
The first thing we do is review effective oral hygiene techniques and discuss ways you can improve your current home care routine. Next, we mechanically remove the bacteria, plaque, and tartar that has built up on your teeth’s root surfaces. This process is called scaling and root planning (SRP) and is done with a combination of hand instruments and an ultrasonic (a high-frequency vibrating instrument). Occasionally, we then apply antimicrobial products and/or antibiotics to the affected areas in order to assist your body in healing those deep pockets and to help avoid the need for periodontal surgery.
Several research articles have linked periodontal disease to other serious, systemic health conditions including diabetes, kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, prosthetic joint complications, dementia, and even pregnancy complications. The two most likely reasons for this oral-systemic connection have to do with the fact that periodontal disease may raise your body’s overall level of inflammation and the same bacteria frequently found in periodontal pockets has also been found in blood vessel plaques of people suffering from cardiovascular disease. As studies continue to examine the impact of periodontal disease on people’s overall health it highlights a compelling argument to proactively ensure that you maintain the best oral health possible in order to promote an improved overall health and well-being.
Some articles published outlining the systemic links between periodontal disease and general health can be found below:
The #1 way to reduce your risk of periodontal disease is to brush and floss daily. You should brush for a full 2 minutes and a power toothbrush is recommended. It is also vital to have regular checkups and cleanings every 4-6 months because your dentist/hygienist has instruments that reach deeper and clean your teeth more effectively than you can at home. In addition to meticulous home care, you can also decrease your chances of developing gum disease by eating a balanced diet, reducing stress in your life, and refraining from smoking/tobacco usage.