Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the tissues surrounding your teeth. It’s typically caused by poor brushing and flossing habits that allow plaque – a layer of sticky bacteria – to build upon the teeth and harden. When that happens, severe damage such as bone or tooth loss, or even worse, can result. Because plaque hardens into calculus, or tartar, it becomes difficult to remove, thus creating gaps between your gum line and teeth. As gums recede, in order to avoid bone and tooth loss, periodontal therapy must be used to breakdown the rock-hard buildup and revitalize the inflamed and infected gums.
What are the symptoms of gum disease?
- Bad breath that won’t go away
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums/span>
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums
How is gum disease diagnosed?
Your hygienist at Northside Dental will:
- Examine your gums and note any signs of inflammation.
- Use a tiny ruler called a “probe” to measure pockets around the teeth. In a healthy mouth, the depth of these pockets is usually between 1 and 3 millimeters. Depths over 3 signal gum disease.
- Ask about conditions or risk factors (such as smoking or diabetes) that may contribute to gum disease.
- Take an x-ray to see whether there is any bone loss.
How is gum disease treated?
Deep cleaning (periodontal therapy) is the first step in treating gum disease.
Deep cleaning can help get your teeth and gums back to their former glory. Northside Dental has had excellent results bringing patients back from the brink of losing bone, teeth and ultimately, their oral health.
The deep cleaning process begins with ‘scaling’, or the removal of plaque and tartar that have built up over the years. Once the scaling is complete, each tooth gets a thorough process to ensure that all pockets are cleaned, sterilized and prepared for future growth.
Next, tooth roots are planed (smoothed out) to coax their reattachment to the teeth, which will help eliminate future inflammation and bleeding by making room for roots to thrive.
The deep cleaning process and followup will require multiple sessions and anesthesia will be used to minimize any sensitivity or pain.
How do I Avoid Gum Disease?
- Don’t skip any cleaning-and-exam appointments. We can tell if you’re heading toward gum disease and can start treating early.
- Keep up good daily care at home – brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, for two minutes each time.
- Floss daily to remove plaque from between teeth. Use flossing gum, dental sticks or a water flosser.
- Quit smoking – it contributes to gum disease.
Deep cleaning (periodontal therapy) can make a big difference to your future oral health! Call us today and let’s get started.