Having great oral health goes beyond taking care of your teeth, it also includes caring for your gums. What many people don’t realize is how at risk their gums may be to bacterial infections and the lasting consequences of these infections. Gum disease can have a negative impact on your oral and overall health.
At Taylor Dental, we engineer treatments that cater to your every dental need. To provide an all-encompassing service, we work to spot gum disease early and have treatments in place to reverse the effects of the infection.
Periodontitis is a serious gum disease that damages the soft tissue of your mouth. This soft tissue is what holds your teeth in place, so compromised gums can lead to problems such as loose teeth or even complete tooth loss. If left untreated, Periodontitis can destroy the bone that supports your teeth and keep them stabilized.
This gum disease may sound far-fetched, but it’s a very common occurrence. It’s very preventable, so most cases don’t progress to the point where teeth are lost. However, it’s still important to watch for this disease so that it doesn’t begin to eat away at your gums. Indicators that your gums may be infected include redness and swelling. Healthy gums are firm and pink, so if they are a darker hue than normal this may be a sign that you are in the early stages of Periodontitis.
The best way to prevent gum disease is to maintain a great oral healthcare routine that consists of brushing at least twice a day and flossing often. Typically, patients who are diagnosed with Periodontitis exhibit poor dental hygiene that leads to infection. However, there are also patients who may be predisposed to Periodontitis for one of the following reasons:
- Genetics: Heredity is one of the most common causes of periodontal disease. Some patients are genetically predisposed to harbor bacteria that lead to infection.
Medications: Some prescription drugs, such as antidepressants and certain oral contraceptives, cause dry mouth. Since there is a decrease in the production of saliva, dental plaque is more likely to develop.
- Stress: When the body is under stress, your overall health and immune system are weakened.
Hormones: Sudden fluctuations in hormones can lead to changes in your oral health. Some patients experience an increase in gum disease during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause.
- Tobacco: Smoking or the use of tobacco products is a primary risk factor for periodontal disease. Not only does tobacco cause plaque and tartar to build faster, but it also decreases healing capacity.
- Bruxism: Grinding or clenching your teeth places additional stress on your teeth and the surrounding tissues. If you already have gingivitis or gum disease, bruxism can worsen the symptoms.
- Poor Diet: Good nutrition is vital for overall oral and physical health. Patients who eat a diet high in carbohydrates and sugar have a greater chance of developing tooth decay and gum disease.
- Disease: Certain diseases contribute to a higher risk factor for periodontal diseases, such as diabetes, HIV, or rheumatoid arthritis, among others.
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical solution to Periodontitis. It is used to treat mild cases of the disease so that it doesn’t continue to spread and destroy tissue. This deep-cleaning technique will involve numbing the gums with local anesthesia, allowing the clinician to clean deep into the gum line without causing any discomfort.
Prior to the procedure, you will come in for an appointment to evaluate your specific dental needs. A team member will perform periodontal charting to determine the depth of the pockets around each tooth and the severity of your Periodontitis.
During the procedure, a combination of hand scalers and ultrasonic instruments will be used to clean the root surfaces of the teeth. We’ll begin by removing any harmful bacteria and plaque that is hiding underneath the gumline and causing infection. After the tartar and plaque build-up is removed, we will go back in to smooth the rough surfaces of the root. The gum will have a clean surface to reattach itself to as it heals from the scaling. Most patients report little to no discomfort following the appointment.
After the scaling and root planing procedure, it’s critical that you maintain your oral health. This means keeping a dental hygiene routine at home as well as coming into the office more often for cleanings. We will recommend an appropriate cleaning schedule to maintain the health of your gums. Patients who have periodontal disease may require more frequent cleanings, such as three to four times a year, to help remedy heightened bacteria levels.
During your appointment, we will give you tips on how to keep a more regimented oral healthcare routine at home so that you can help keep infection at bay. If you don’t keep up with your at-home routine and don’t attend your scheduled cleanings, it’s very possible that the infection could return more aggressively than it was before.
We want you to have great oral health and a beautiful smile to show for it, so it’s important that you do your part to keep up with your dental hygiene. We are here for regularly scheduled cleanings, but without consistent care at home, you may be making yourself vulnerable to infection. If the infection spreads far enough, it may require a surgical treatment rather than the nonsurgical treatment of scaling and root planing.