Gum (Peridontal) Treatment

We all know that we need to brush our teeth daily. The problem is that brushing does not guarantee healthy gums and teeth. Flossing is also an extremely important tool that we need to utilize to keep healthy teeth and gums. Even with these two ways of keeping our mouths healthy, it is still very common to acquire periodontal disease, or gum disease.

Some reasons for acquiring gum disease could include poor oral hygiene, infrequent professional teeth cleanings, systemic health problems, and genetics.

Gum problems start when there is mild plaque buildup that is left from improper brushing and flossing. When this occurs, mild inflammation of the gums result and they usually become red, sore, and generally bleed when brushing. This is the first stage and is called gingivitis.

If gingivitis goes untreated, gum infection can damage the bone around the teeth and supporting tissues. This is when periodontal disease starts. Early and moderate periodontal disease may exhibit few, if any, symptoms. Do not be fooled by this. The damage is being done during these stages. The gum starts to separate from the tooth and the bone level around the tooth will start to deteriorate. Warning signs of advanced periodontal disease may include red, swollen, or bleeding gums, persistent bad breath, teeth that start feeling loose, or changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite. Gum recession may also start at any of these stages.

Checking for periodontal disease is very simple. During your regular checkup, we will examine your gums and check for any breakdown of the gum tissue or if pockets have developed. A pocket is the result of bone loss and gum tissue destruction. The result is a space between the gum and the tooth known as a pocket. This pocket can get filled with bacteria, plaque, and tartar, which in turn causes the continuous formation of the pocket.

Treatment will depend on the type of periodontal disease and how far it has progressed. The most common from of treatment includes scaling and root planing. Scaling is cleaning the teeth to remove all forms of debris above and below the gemlike. Root planing is actually smoothing the root surfaces and ridding it of diseased tissue so that the gums can heal properly. Scaling and root planing is usually done in two appointments with a local anesthetic. Oral irrigation is also used as an adjunct to scaling and root planing. A special liquid is used and is directed below the gumline to flush out and kill bacteria and allow the gums to regrow in a healthy manner. Antibiotics (Arestin) administered into the pockets can also be used to assist in fighting gum disease. If the pockets are very deep and there is advanced bone destruction, we may recommend you see a periodontist.

Obviously, prevention is the best medicine. To help protect against gum disease, it is very important to prevent the buildup of plaque. Remember to have your regular professional cleanings at least every six months in addition to brushing and flossing every day.