Periodontics – Gum Treatment
Healthy Gums Make Happy Smiles
Healthy gums are a vital component to our patients’ overall oral health.
Commonly known as gum disease, periodontal disease is a family of related chronic inflammatory diseases that are all bacterial infections. Healthy gums are pink, smooth, and firm. Your bone and gum tissue should fit around your teeth like a turtleneck around your neck. Gum disease is caused by bacteria, which produce the sticky, soft, colorless substance known as plaque.
Healthy gums are pink, smooth, and firm.
Potential warning signs that can signal a problem for developing periodontal disease :
- Gums that bleed easilyRed, swollen, tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste
- Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
- Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you biteAny change in the fit of partial dentures
As plaque accumulates and hardens into tartar on the surfaces of the teeth, bacteria releases toxins that irritate the gums, causing the gums to swell, turn red, and bleed easily. Plaque that is not removed can harden into tartar or calculus. This build-up of tartar worsens the condition, causing the gums to pull away from the teeth forming spaces called “pockets” around the teeth. Over time these pockets become deeper, providing a larger space for bacteria to live. These deeper pockets result in tissue and bone loss. Eventually, if too much bone is lost, the tooth or teeth will need to be extracted.
Causes and Risk Factors:
Specific species of bacteria must be present for periodontal disease to develop, but usually other risk factors must be present as well. In fact, 80% of people with gum disease have at least one other risk factor that makes them susceptible. Multiple factors are frequently involved. For example, stress, poor diet, and viral infections all play a role in periodontal disease. Aside from bacteria, other major risk factors are:
- Medical conditions
- Hormonal changes
- Heart disease
Treating Periodontal Disease:
Periodontal therapy is necessary to arrest the progression of gum disease. The most common and a more conservative approach to treating periodontal disease is non-surgical treatment. After treatment, you should receive more frequent cleanings to maintain control of the disease. You must also have to develop good oral hygiene at home and try to reduce other risk factors for gum disease. Successful treatment requires the commitment of the dentist, hygienist, and patient.
Keeping Gums in Shape:
Even the best periodontal treatment is for naught if you do not follow through with regular brushing and flossing. Sometimes switching to an electric toothbrush or using specially designed dental soft picks can help control plaque effectively. During these visits your dentist or hygienist will examine your gums, check your bite, and remove new plaque and tartar. How often you visit the dentist depends on how well controlled your gum disease is.
A big part of this ongoing maintenance program is practicing good daily dental care at home. All of these factors will help control or stop the progression of the disease.
For any questions or to schedule an appointment, please contact our office by email or call 703-753-7077.
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