What is Gum Disease?
There are two types of gum disease, gingivitis and periodontitis. Both are initiated and progressed by the presence of bacteria that lives within the plaque that accumulates on teeth. Routine dental cleanings and thorough home care are essential for preventing and treating gum disease.
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, affecting only the gum tissues, and is completely reversible if detected and treated early. If left untreated, however, it can progress into the deeper tissues and may advance to periodontal disease. Patients with gingivitis often experience bleeding and sore gums when brushing, flossing, and eating.
Gingivitis is frequently treated by improved oral hygiene. This is best achieved by a combination of professional dental cleanings and improved home care techniques. See our Preventive Dentistry
page of our website for more information and discuss how to improve your home care with your hygienist and doctor at your next appointment.
Periodontal disease occurs when bacteria that live below the gum line produce toxins which cause our bodies to destroy the bone that supports the teeth. There is no cure for periodontal disease. However, with early detection and timely treatment, we can help to stop the progression of this disease and prevent further bone and tooth loss.
Treatment for Periodontal Disease - Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is a nonsurgical periodontal treatment that is typically recommended when periodontal disease is diagnosed. The general steps of scaling and root planing treatment may include a local anesthetic to numb the areas that will be treated. The treatment often requires hand instruments and an ultrasonic tool to remove the plaque and calculus accumulation. Your doctor or dental hygienist will use the instruments below the gum line to clean the roots of your teeth and smooth any rough surfaces. The goal of this deep cleaning process is to clear away plaque and tartar as well as smooth the surfaces of the teeth to encourage the gum tissues to reattach to the teeth.
It is essential for scaling and root planing treatment patients to maintain their oral health and cleanliness after the procedure. Home maintenance is a major part of the healing process. The mouth needs to be free of food, debris, and plaque in order to keep the bacteria from causing further destruction. Thorough brushing and flossing will be required to ensure that the mouth is clean at all times.
Scaling and root planing treatment is most effective in the early stages of gum disease and can help to reduce periodontal pocket depths up to two or three millimeters on average. If you are diagnosed with moderate to advanced periodontal disease, we may refer you to a periodontist for more extensive treatment and follow-up.
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