Gum Disease “Gingivitis”, can be caused by long-term exposure to plaque and tartar. Gum disease originates in the gums, where infections form from harmful bacteria, and other materials left behind from eating. If preventative and treatment measures aren’t taken, the bacteria can potentially cause (periodontal disease) and reach into the bloodstream. Early warning signs include chronic bad breath, tender or painful swollen gums, and minor bleeding after brushing or flossing. However, in many cases, gingivitis can go unnoticed. It can eventually cause the gums to separate from the teeth, making the gums more susceptible to infection and further tooth decay. Although periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults, in many cases it is avoidable. If gingivitis goes untreated, other problems can occur such as abscesses, bone loss and periodontitis.
Periodontitis is the advanced stage of gingivitis. It involves more severe pocketing around the roots of the teeth, associated with bone loss and loss of attachment to the tooth. It can be treated in a number of different ways. One method is called ‘root planing’ which involves cleaning and scraping below the gum line to remove hard build-up and to smooth the roots. If effective, this procedure helps the gums reattach themselves to the tooth structure. However, not all instances of scaling and root planing successfully reattach the tooth to the gums. Additional measures may need to be taken if the periodontal pockets persist after scaling and root planing.
During your dental exam we will evaluate the health condition of your teeth and gums, as well as your regular oral hygiene procedures. The hygienist will use periodontal probing to determine the extent of the gum disease.
If necessary, we will set you up for a scaling and root planing appointment. An anesthetic will be used to numb your gums for 10 to 15 minutes prior to beginning the procedure below the gumline, to remove any plaque, tartar, and bacteria – thus allowing your gums and bones to heal.
Unfortunately, the health ramifications of periodontal disease and not having regular dental exams and teeth cleanings can inhibit your overall health and may be linked to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.