While many patients believe that maintaining their teeth is the most important part of dental care, the truth is that a healthy mouth is built from the bottom up- starting with the gums. Unfortunately, even with advances in dentistry, many individuals are unaware of the prevalence and risks of gum disease, which can compromise their oral and general health. At J and J Dental, we take both preventative and reactive measures to help ensure the overall health of our patients’ mouths. Providing complete dental care, we educate our patients on the importance of oral hygiene, and provide comprehensive gum disease treatments to our Marietta, GA patients. If you are suffering from gum disease and would like to learn more about restoring your oral health, schedule a visit with Dr. John Bishara and our Registered Dental Hygienist, Renee’ today.
Understanding gum disease and its causes is the first step toward preventing it. Put simply, gum disease is a bacterial infection that can cause deterioration of the tissues that surround the tooth. If it becomes progressed enough, gum disease can lead to bone infection, tooth loss, and other general health problems. While it is impossible to completely eliminate bacteria from the mouth, proper oral hygiene habits can ensure that harmful bacteria do not lead to oral health complications. If plaque is not removed, it can cause your gums (gingiva) to pull away from your teeth, forming pockets in which more bacteria can collect. When left untouched, plaque buildup can harden, forming what is known as tartar, which cannot easily be removed. This tartar can lead to irritation and infection of the gums. The only way to prevent tartar buildup is to be diligent about brushing and flossing. It is also important to understand some of the signs and symptoms of gum disease, so that it can be treated promptly. These symptoms include:
- Red, swollen gums
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Persistent bad breath
- Receding gums
- Sensitive teeth
- Teeth that seem to be loose or moving away from one another
- Change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
Stages of Gum Disease
The two main forms of periodontal disease are gingivitis and periodontitis, with the major difference lying in the progression of the disease. Gingivitis is the earliest form of gum disease, and is characterized by gums that are either inflamed or bleed easily. Periodontitis is a more progressed form of gum disease which will require more aggressive treatment. Periodontitis is the stage of gum disease in which tissue, bone, and tooth decay begin. If left untreated, periodontitis will continue to develop leading to severe oral health problems. In some instances, advanced periodontitis has been linked to other general health problems, including cardiovascular illness, respiratory problems, and even diabetes.
Scaling and Root Planing
Sometimes referred to as deep cleaning, root scaling and planing is an effective treatment option for gum disease. In an effort to provide the most comfortable care to his patients, Dr. John Bishara often recommends root scaling and planing, and other non-surgical treatments, to patients with mild to moderate periodontal issues. This process involves removing plaque from above and below the gum line, as well as smoothing away rough spots on the teeth that can attract bacteria. The gums are then irrigated with Chlorhexidine, an antimicrobial mouth rinse to further decrease the amount of bacteria in the mouth. After the gums have been rinsed with Chlorhexidine, patients should wait 2 hours before rinsing their mouths with water or mouthwash, brushing their teeth, eating, or drinking.
After Scaling and Root Planing
The benefits of scaling and root planing are many. However, this procedure alone is not sufficient to stop the continued destruction of periodontal disease. Patients are instructed to brush and floss twice daily to control the accumulation of plaque and tartar. An oral hygiene check up is done 3 weeks after scaling and root planing to determine how well the plaque and tartar is being controlled. Three months after we complete the initial scaling and root planing, we will re-evaluate your periodontal status. It is at this appointment that we will determine if further treatment (surgery, additional scaling, antibiotics, etc.) is necessary to control the disease process. It is recommended that a more advanced (periodontal maintenance cleaning), will be required at various intervals depending on your individual dental needs. For best results, it is recommended that you continue your periodontal maintenance cleanings every three to four months until the disease has been controlled.
The results of your periodontal therapy depend on several factors:
- Adhering to your scheduled treatment plan and follow-up appointments.
- Home care compliance.
- Personal habits (smoking, poor diet, stress, etc.)
To learn more on how you can prevent gum disease, contact our Marietta Dental location, or schedule a consultation with Dr. John Bishara today.