Here at Lincoln Smiles, we understand that while cavities are important, they aren’t the only problem that can arise when it comes to oral health. Caring for the bones and gums that surround and support your teeth is a crucial aspect of dental care as well as your overall health. Without proper oral care, gum disease and other health complications can develop or worsen. We will explain what periodontal care is as well as treatments for gum disease.
What Is Periodontal Care?
Periodontal care focuses on the teeth’s support system, which consists of the surrounding bones, gums, and root, and is provided by our specially trained dentist, called a periodontist. Periodontists deal with the varying levels of gum disease, dental implants, and plastic surgery procedures.
When plaque and tartar are allowed to build up below the gumline, the gums can become inflamed and infected. This is called gingivitis. Left untreated, gingivitis may progress to periodontal disease and, eventually, advanced periodontal disease.
Risk factors for periodontitis include genetics, smoking, and certain health conditions such as diabetes, AIDS, and certain types of cancer. Some medications and cancer treatments can also make a person more susceptible to gum disease.
How Do I Know If I Have Gum Disease?
Symptoms of periodontitis include inflamed or swollen gums, receding gums, spaces between the teeth, bleeding gums as a result of brushing or flossing, and pus between the gums and teeth. Some patients experience pain in the gums when touched and persistent bad breath, as well as bone loss and loose teeth.
How Is Gum Disease Treated?
The best way to treat gum disease is to prevent it from developing in the first place. Good oral hygiene practices are crucial. Be sure to brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with an anti-cavity toothpaste, and floss daily. Also, attend regular dental exams and cleanings to help prevent problems from arising, as well as to detect any potential issues in the beginning stages. The earlier gum disease is treated, the higher the chances of healing.
If gum disease does persist, we will perform periodontal maintenance, which is a deeper, more thorough cleaning than a regular cleaning. We will use small handheld dental tools or an ultrasonic device to break up the buildup above and below the gumline, down to the root. This process is called scaling. We will also smooth any exposed root surfaces, called planing.
Additionally, medications may be used for treatment. Medicated mouth rinses, antibiotic gels, and oral antibiotics are often used to restore oral health. Laser treatment may also be effective in combatting gum disease.
If these things do not effectively treat your gum disease or if the disease has progressed too far, surgery may be needed to remove buildup in the pockets or to make the pockets smaller, making it easier to keep the gums clean. Other options include bone and tissue grafts to help regenerate destroyed gum tissue or bone, and dental implants.
You can’t have healthy teeth without healthy gums. Call Lincoln Smiles at 916-543-8800 today to schedule your periodontal examination.