Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection that destroys the bone and soft tissue supporting a tooth. Without treatment, you can lose your teeth and damage the alveolar bone around the teeth. One of the main causes of gum disease is dental plaque that collects naturally on the teeth.
You can remove the plaque by brushing twice a day and flossing once daily. However, if the plaque isn’t removed, it can harden to form tartar, requiring professional treatment. Read on to understand how you can treat and prevent periodontal disease.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an inflammation around the tooth. Tiny organisms like bacteria can stick to a tooth and the pockets surrounding it. They multiply quickly, thus forcing the immune system to react. The toxins released during the process lead to inflammation. Untreated gum disease can cause tooth loss and increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and many more health problems. Bacteria plaque is a colorless, sticky membrane that forms on the teeth and is the leading cause of gum disease. If the plaque isn’t removed, it can form calculus, (or tartar).
Types of Treatment
A treatment plan aims to clean out all bacteria around the teeth, thus preventing further bone and tissue destruction. Your dentist can use different treatment plans depending on the severity of periodontitis. They include:
- Scaling and cleaning – The dentist cleans below the gum line by scaling and debridement. They can do this using an ultrasonic device or hand tools, thus breaking calculus and plaque. Root planing is also conducted to smooth out the rough areas of the teeth. Bacteria can stick to these patches, thus increasing the risk of gum disease. Depending on the plaque buildup, this can take one or two visits. It’s advisable to go for cleaning at least twice a year.
- Medication – Your dentist can recommend several medicated mouthwashes and treatments like oral antibiotics, enzyme suppressants, antibiotic microspheres, antibiotic gel, antiseptic chip, or a prescription antimicrobial mouth rinse. All these options can help treat gum disease depending on its severity.
- Bone tissue grafts – The procedure helps regenerate any destroyed gum or bone tissue. Your dentist can use a synthetic or new bone and place it where you’ve lost a bone, thus promoting bone growth.
- Flap surgery – The surgery helps reduce deep pockets and remove calculus. It makes it easy for you to clean your teeth. The dentist also lifts back the gums to remove tartar and later sutures them back into place. After the surgery, the gums can fit tightly around the teeth.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
Good oral hygiene is the best way to prevent gum disease. Even if you have healthy gums, practice proper dental care. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day. If you have some space between your teeth, use an interdental brush. If not, it’s advisable to use soft picks. Besides good oral hygiene, you should also eat healthy balanced diets, and avoid or reduce smoking.
You can stop gum disease through regular checkups, good oral hygiene, and treatment. It’s also essential to take care when cleaning your teeth, especially around uneven surfaces like fillings, dentures, crowns, crooked teeth, or closely packed teeth. Following the guidelines listed here, you should have a good chance of maintaining healthy gums and hopefully avoid gum disease.
At Artistic Smiles Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, it is our pleasure to offer these helpful treatment plans and preventative step suggestions for protecting your gums and keeping them healthy. Contact us today through our website, or connect with our friendly office staff to make an appointment. Call 305-271-3333 to schedule an appointment.