How to Treat Periodontal Gum Disease
What is Periodontal Gum Disease?
Before you learn how to treat periodontal disease, it is best to learn a bit more about how this disease progresses and some of the signs of periodontal disease. This information will keep you better informed on what to look for and possibly how to prevent the disease. Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection of your gums. This infections can attack the gums and bone of the teeth in such a way that it can cause permanent bone loss or tooth loss. It can ruin a smile if not treated correctly.
What You Can Do to Prevent It
The effort you put into cleaning your teeth and caring for your gums can greatly reduce the chances of getting periodontal disease. If you have already been advised that you have this disease, there are ways to stop the continued destruction it causes. You can take action to keep a healthy mouth, but it does require some effort.
The Stages of the Disease
There are several different stages of periodontal disease ranging from a slight irritation in the gums to the loss of bone which eventually leads to the loss of teeth. Catching the disease early can give you a tremendous advantage in fighting against this disease and avoiding the specialized procedures that are often required to keep the disease from advancing. The primary issue to keep in mind is that as the disease progresses, dental procedures can be used to keep it from getting worse, but it’s unlikely you’ll be able to recover completely. You won’t be able to “undo” the damage completely, so it’s best to take action as soon as you can to prevent it from doing you more harm.
There are several symptoms that can give you a clue that you may have or may be a candidate for periodontal disease. One of the first things you may notice is bleeding of the gums and tooth sensitivity. If you have pain or swelling in the gums, it is a good bet that you may find a little “pink in the sink” (blood) when brushing your teeth. This is an indication of infection and bacterial growth between the teeth in the gums.
The area between the teeth is a “hard to reach” area of the mouth and is often the place that the disease takes hold. Taking the few extra minutes to floss your teeth can seem tedious, but it is one of the best ways to get those stuck food particles and disease-causing debris out and away from your gums where the bacteria can do the most harm. Using prescription mouthwashes or other cleansing solutions provided by your dentist is also another great way to fight the disease. Allowing the liquid to reach deep into the crevices of your teeth and neutralize the bacteria is a big help.
Some People are More Susceptible than Others
There are two types of people that have a greater disadvantage in the war against periodontal disease than others: smokers and diabetics. Smokers and diabetics have a greater tendency to experience a build-up of calculus (hardened dental plaque) and tartar. The bacteria in the calculus can cause inflammation and recession in your gums leading to bone loss and eventually tooth loss. For smokers and diabetics it is necessary to keep up-to-date with all cleaning and dental procedures suggested by the dentist.
If you do have a diagnosis of periodontal gum disease, then a deep cleaning is sometimes the first step in fighting the disease. This deep cleaning is called “scaling” and it removes the tartar and calculus that is tenaciously attached to your teeth. This is a critical step in controlling the disease as it helps stop the progression of the infection causing the disease.
Deep Cleaning Procedure
The deep cleaning is often performed in the office and is done to remove the plaque buildup around the gums and between teeth. Often this plaque has become calcified to become tartar and is difficult to remove so ultrasonic instruments may be involved in removing the buildup. This can be an uncomfortable process so, as needed, the dentist may numb the areas with anesthetic to make it easy to tolerate. Once the plaque and tarter buildup are removed from the teeth an antibiotic is delivered to the gums to help fight infection. After the treatment, patients are usually advised not to floss for a few days and to stop smoking.
Once this procedure is done it is up to the patient to keep up with daily brushing and flossing and using mouthwash to halt the spread of the disease. It is a disease that shouldn’t be ignored. It can impact not only diet and appearance, but also general health and well-being. Dental implants can of course be used to replace teeth lost to Periodontal Gum Disease, but health issues are still a factor. You would all be wise to take action now, rather than later, to avoid this disease.