Periodontal Gum Treatment
Periodontal disease is the scientific term for gum disease. It comes in two forms: gingivitis and periodontitis. You may have heard more about gingivitis, the milder form, and that is because it is more common. Gingivitis, in fact, is the most common oral health problem and it is so common that if you haven’t yet been told by a dentist that you have gingivitis, you probably will be at some time. When you think about how easy it is for food particles to get caught between your teeth and escape cleaning with a brush, it’s not surprising that most people get gingivitis sooner or later. If you floss daily, you are far less likely to leave particles behind that can cause bacterial growth, but even if you brush and floss daily and correctly, you can still get gum disease when you are sick, or if it runs in your family.
The more serious form of gum disease, periodontitis, happens when gingivitis is not treated. Bacterial infection causes sticky plaque to spread, and after awhile it hardens to calculus, more commonly called tartar. When plaque and tartar spread below the gumline, this is periodontitis. At this point, a more extensive cleaning is necessary to reverse the disease.
Before gingivitis becomes periodontitis, it can be reversed with a normal dental cleaning. Dental cleanings are usually part of routine dental exams. A professional cleaning cleans each tooth individually, gets between teeth and cleanses the gums. All plaque and tartar is removed from the surface of the teeth and the gums, so if gingivitis is present, it is stopped from spreading.
When periodontitis is present, a deep cleaning procedure is necessary. This is also called scaling and root planing. Scaling refers to a cleaning that goes under the gums with a special dental instrument. After this is accomplished, root planing with a special tool smooths the area, which inhibits reinfection and the growth of bacteria, because bacteria have a harder time attaching to a smooth surface.
If periodontitis is left untreated, your teeth can become loose and eventually be lost. In addition, advanced gum disease usually causes chronic bad breath and can cause painful toothache. Advanced periodontitis may require treatment with surgery.
While you may not be able to avoid gingivitis completely throughout your lifetime, you can avoid periodontitis and the need for scaling and root planing or gum surgery by seeing the dentist every six months for regular checkups and brushing and flossing daily at home. A good oral hygiene routine can keep gingivitis from ever advancing.
Call Kettleman Dental Care now to set up an appointment for an exam or consultation. We are located in Lodi, California and accept patients of all ages.