One of the main ingredients for general health and well-being is good oral health. Researchers are finding links between certain health problems and oral health. As important as that is, still more important is oral health itself, and that begins with good oral hygiene. Lack of oral hygiene can lead to periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, begins as gingivitis. A substance called plaque begins to accumulate on the teeth and hardens into tartar, also called calculus. This hardened substance begins to build up and cause spaces to form between the teeth and the gums. These spaces are called periodontal pockets. Bacteria and food debris accumulate in the pockets causing infection in the gums. Continued neglect leads to eventual bone loss and thus, the loosening of teeth.
Periodontal therapy is used to repair the damage done by gum disease. The type of therapy used and extent of treatment depends on the severity of the disease. In its earliest stages, gum disease is reversible. As it worsens, more invasive treatment is needed to get the infection under control and heal or remove damaged tissue.
Gum Infection Treatment
Treatment begins with a comprehensive oral exam to determine the extent of the disease. Next, a thorough cleaning of the teeth is performed to clean away plaque and tartar buildup and remove debris from pockets around the teeth. Mild cases may only require special mouthwash or toothpaste to keep the teeth clean and help heal the gums. More severe cases may require antibiotic treatment. Sometimes the medicine is applied to the gums; other cases may require oral medicine. Treatment may also include surgery if damage to the soft tissues has occurred.
Scaling and Root Planing
It is important for the roots of the teeth to be smooth so gums can reattach and heal. This is accomplished by scaling and root planing. Special instruments called scalers are used to remove all the debris and tartar from the tooth surface above and below the gum line. After this procedure is finished, the roots are planed smooth so the gums will be able to reattach.
Our dentist or hygienist will examine your teeth and gums and measure the pockets to determine the best therapy for eliminating your gum disease. Getting the problem treated early is always best. If you have bright pink or red, swollen or puffy gums that have a tendency to bleed, you probably have gum disease. Contact Pacific NW Dental Center for an exam and treatment.