Periodontal Maintenance

Periodontal or gum disease happens when bacteria gets below the gum line and the attachment between the gum and tooth is lost. Three out of four Americans have some form of periodontal disease and only 3 out of 100 will ever get treated before it’s too late.

Gum disease is a silent, chronic, painless and communicable bacterial infection that often goes undetected or ignored until severe gum and bone destruction is unbearable and no longer able to be ignored. Left untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss and bone loss.

Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums, which gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth. There are numerous disease entities requiring different treatment approaches. Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease in genetically susceptible individuals. Daily brushing and flossing will prevent most periodontal conditions.

Why is oral hygiene so important?

Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases, (periodontal disease) than from cavities. Three out of four adults are affected at some time in their life. The best way to prevent cavities and periodontal disease is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily.

Periodontal disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is a colorless film, which sticks to your teeth at the gum line. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.

Periodontal diseases can be accelerated by a number of different factors. However, it is mainly caused by the bacteria found in dental plaque, a sticky colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. If not carefully removed by daily brushing and flossing, plaque hardens into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar).

Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Clenching and grinding teeth
  • Medication
  • Poor nutrition
  • Genetic predisposition

Periodontal Disease

Bacteria found in plaque produces toxins or poisons that irritate the gums, which may cause them to turn red, swell and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss.

Preventing Gum Disease

The best way to prevent gum disease is effective daily brushing and flossing as well as regular professional examinations and cleanings. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home dental care, people still can develop some form of periodontal disease. Once this disease starts, professional intervention is necessary to prevent its progress.

We carefully measure the space between your tooth and gums (pocketing) during your hygiene appointment. If inflammation, pocketing of a certain degree or bone loss is evident scaling and root planing will be recommended. SCRP is a procedure to remove tartar on your roots below the gumline. We use local anesthetic to numb the area to be scaled. During a follow-up appointment the tissues and pocketing are re-assessed to evaluate for improvement. You may be placed on a 3-4 month recare with the hygienist depending on your periodontal status.