Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, or periodontitis, is commonly among our adult dental patients in Mesa. It can lead to tooth loss, jeopardize your overall health, and also cause bad breath. However, this condition is completely preventable.
All you have to do to keep periodontitis from taking hold of your smile is make a daily effort and commitment to good oral hygiene.
Here’s how to get started:
Brush At Least Twice A Day
Brushing after every meal is important, because doing so will prevent plaque and leftover food particles from sticking to your teeth, irritating your gums, and causing cavities. If brushing after every meal isn’t possible, then you should at least be brushing twice a day 一 in the morning and at night, before going to bed (for a minimum of two minutes each time.)
In addition to brushing your teeth thoroughly and frequently, you’ll want to use dental floss to remove the debris between your teeth that brush bristles can’t reach. Flossing should be done at least once per day. A water flosser is a great alternative if you find traditional floss hard to use. Water flossers are great for cleaning the “pockets” around teeth that have gum disease.
Get Regular Dental Cleanings
To prevent gum disease, you should visit the dentist for regular checkups. Normal cleanings should be performed at least every six months to remove the hardened calculus that’s irritating your gums. If you have hard-to-reach areas or struggle getting your teeth as clean as you should (like if you’re wearing braces) we may recommend a cleaning as often as every 3-4 months.
Smoking weakens your immune system and reduces blood flow to your gums, making you more likely to develop gum disease. Smokers rarely “bounce back” to having healthy mouths compared to people who do not smoke.
Signs of Gum Disease
The following are common signs of periodontitis, ranging from mild symptoms to the most severe:
- Gum tissue is red, swollen, and/or feels sore
- Your gums bleed when you brush or floss
- Bad breath
- A lot of tartar buildup
- Teeth shifting over time, creating large gaps, and/or teeth that protrude
- Spaces between teeth
- Loose teeth
- Teeth that are sore and painful
- Pus or drainage at your gumlines
- Teeth that are falling out
Gum Disease Treatment Options
Gum disease can be treated, but the process to do so (and results) will depend on the severity of your condition. After a complete evaluation of your gums, we’ll perform one or more of the following treatments to get your periodontitis under control:
A debridement is similar to a “pre-wash” at the car wash. This procedure will remove the majority of calculus buildup both above and below the gum to give us a better understanding of your condition. Once the majority of the calculus is removed, we will be able to see your teeth and gums better so that we can determine what other treatment needs to be performed get your mouth healthy again.
Scaling and Root Planing
Known as SRP or “deep cleaning”, this treatment will remove all of the calculus/tartar that is underneath the gum surface and surrounding the tooth roots. The hygienist will use a special ultrasonic scaler that breaks up the calculus and flushes it away. Depending on how severe your condition is, we may recommend that you have this procedure spaced out over multiple appointments, since each part of your mouth will need to be numbed and cleaned extensively. Typically, we will clean one half at one appointment, and another half at the next. Then we place you on a 3-4 month recall for periodontal maintenance cleanings.
If your periodontal disease is beyond what we can treat, we may refer you to a gum specialist (periodontist.) They may recommend that you undergo extensive gum surgery in order to save your teeth.
If your teeth are very loose, it means there is no longer adequate tissue or bone to support them. The only treatment option at this point is to have those teeth removed, to stop the spread of infection into other areas of your mouth.
Professional Treatment for Gum Disease
Once acquired, periodontal disease cannot be cured without getting proper care. If it’s been a while since you’ve been to the dentist for a cleaning, then chances are that you have some degree of gum disease. Call Eastport Dental today to schedule your next checkup.