A regular checkup at the family dentist may yield a diagnosis of periodontal disease. While the condition itself is not uncommon, it may leave you with questions about how it developed and how it is treated. Find out some of the factors that may contribute to this gum disease, how a dental practitioner may treat it, and what the prognosis may be going forward.
Red swollen gums that bleed after brushing are a symptom of periodontal or gum disease. The condition develops over time when proper dental hygiene is not practiced. When sugar sits on teeth, it develops into plaque and tartar, which allow bacteria to fester on the surface. The bacteria eat away at the enamel protecting the teeth, eventually progressing to the gumline. Here, bacteria can make their way to the roots and bones, causing irreversible damage. Gum disease is often painless until it is too late to intercede, leading to premature tooth loss.
The family dentist may start treatment with frequent in-office appointments to perform special nonsurgical cleanings. Even after the initial treatment plan is finished, a patient can expect to receive frequent periodontal maintenance deep cleanings to ensure the teeth stay as clean as possible. Explore standard treatment methods practitioners use to treat gum disease.
Regular dental cleanings are not enough to remove plaque and tartar if gum disease is present. Periodontal scaling is an intensive cleaning aimed at reaching under the gumline to get rid of the buildup there. Periodontal disease causes the gums to recede and pockets to form between the teeth and gums, which create spaces that allow bacteria to enter. Therefore, the dentist must remove any tartar or plaque under the gumline to stop the progression of the disease.
Some teeth may need special attention due to the progression of gum disease. The dentist may need to smooth out tooth roots by reaching under the gumline. This root planing aids the gums in adhering to the tooth's surface, closing the gap and blocking bacteria from entering.
Once the dentist completes the initial treatment plan, the patient enters the next phase of treatment, which is the last, ongoing phase of periodontal maintenance. Since the gums likely still have pockets, they require frequent cleanings and care to prevent further damage.
Instead of annual or biannual checkups and cleanings, a dentist will recommend more frequent visits with deeper cleanings. The practitioner will set the schedule based on the severity of the disease, but these perio maintenance cleanings are typically recommended at least every three months.
Periodontal disease is progressive and may flare up at any time causing further damage to teeth and bone. As such, it is crucial to practice proper hygiene at home and visit the dentist on the prescribed schedule.
A family dentist has the knowledge and experience to help create a treatment plan for a patient's current stage of gum disease. Stopping the spread of bacteria and the destruction of tooth roots and bone is the primary goal of periodontal maintenance. Speak to the practitioner and ask any further questions you may have before commencing treatment.
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