What is periodontal (gum) disease?
At Mark C. Waring, DDS, we care deeply about your long-term oral health, which is why we go to great lengths to educate our patients. Lot’s of people don’t realize that your oral health extends beyond just your teeth, your gums are equally important and are susceptible to the same kinds of issues as your teeth. If you allow you oral hygiene to slip your gums can become infected, and you may begin to show signs of gum disease. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss and even bone loss, not to mention it is a common cause of frequent bad breath. At Mark C. Waring, DDS, we want to catch the signs of gum disease in the early stages so that we can help you to prevent the long-term damage what it can do to your mouth.
What Gum Disease Is
Gum disease describes an infection of your gums by the bad bacteria that live in your mouth. The same bacteria that lives in your mouth and causes cavities is what causes gum disease. By brushing and flossing every day you work to wash away daily buildup of these bacteria so that they don’t take hold of your teeth or gums. Once these bacteria start to accumulate in an area in your mouth, they are called plaque, which you have probably felt as a mossy texture on your teeth after you have something sugary to eat. If plaque is left to accumulate it will eventually harden into a substance that we call tartar which can be very destructive to your teeth and gums. If tartar and plaque are left to their own devices, they will infect your teeth with cavities and your gums with gum disease.
Warning Signs That You Should Know About
With lot’s of health maladies, it becomes obvious to you very quickly that something is wrong – you begin to notice that something hurts, is sore, or looks totally different. The same isn’t true of gum disease. Gum disease often goes undetected and untreated for a long time because the symptoms don’t typically include pain or discomfort. Fortunately, there are a few symptoms that you can look for to see if you are developing gum disease:
If you notice any of these symptoms, please call us today at (480) 820-4342 to schedule an appointment.
Early Stage Gum Disease Is Called Gingivitis
There are two stages to gum disease, early and late, and early stage gum disease is called gingivitis. Gingivitis is a reversible condition that can do some damage to the health of your mouth. If we find that you have gingivitis, we will give you a good, professional cleaning and send you home with care instructions. To make sure that you reverse gingivitis it is important that you take great care of your mouth by brushing multiple times per day (gently) and staying on top of flossing.
Late Stage Gum Disease Is Called Periodontitis
The late stage of gum disease is called periodontitis and is not reversible. While periodontitis is not reversible, we can get it under control with treatment and try to minimize the negative effects that it will have in your mouth. The big difference between gingivitis and periodontitis is the position of the gums. When the gums pull away from teeth entirely, there is no surefire way to re-attach them. When the gums do not sit flush on the surface of your teeth plaque, and food particles can fall into the pocket between your teeth and gums and cause repeat infections.
Root Planing and Scaling Can Treat Periodontitis
The result of periodontitis is plaque and tartar buildup below the gumline. This buildup continually irritates and infects the gums and results in issues like tooth and bone loss. Our goal to treat periodontitis is to remove the plaque and tartar that accumulates below the gumline with a procedure called root scaling and planing.
The first step in this process is to use an ultrasonic scaling tool on the roots of your teeth to break up and wash away all plaque and tartar. The ultrasonic scaling tool uses ultrasonic vibrations and a constant flow of either water or antibacterial rinse to produce microbubbles that work their way below the tartar and washes it away.
Once the scaling is finished, the next step in this procedure is to plane the roots. After root scaling the roots of your teeth are still quite textured because they have played host for tartar for some length of time. The goal of root planing is to smooth the roots of your teeth for two main reasons: to ensure that the gums aren’t irritated, and to remove the extra surface area that plaque and tartar use to gain purchase on the roots of your teeth.
Because we can’t reattach the gums to the surface of your teeth, it is important that you see us often so that we can check on the condition of your gums. You may need to have this procedure done on a regular schedule depending on the severity of your periodontitis.
Come To Us Early and Often
As with all maladies, it’s best to avoid gum disease altogether by practicing great oral hygiene habits like brushing and flossing regularly. It helps quite a bit to rinse your mouth out with water after meals as well. Don’t forget, a trip to our office every six months plays a critical role in keeping your teeth happy and healthy. When you visit us, we can find problems in the early stages when they are still reversible, and with your help, we will prevent them from causing you problems.
If you would like to learn more about scaling and root planing, or if you would like to schedule a no-obligation consultation, please give us a call today at (480) 820-4342. We look forward to seeing you smile.