Periodontal (Gum) Maintenance
Your periodontal (gum) tissues are an important part of your oral health. In fact, proper periodontal maintenance can help you avoid some complications, namely periodontal (gum) disease. At Neu Family Dental, we specialize in the treatment and prevention of periodontal disease and other oral health problems. We believe the first step of prevention is patient education. The following information is designed to help you maintain the best possible periodontal health.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is an infection that targets the gum tissues, connective ligaments, and supporting bone that keep your teeth in place. This infection is caused by your immune system, responding to the bacteria found in plaque. Plaque is a sticky film that builds up on the teeth and around the gums. The bacteria in plaque feed on the sugars and other simple carbohydrates we consume. If enough plaque is allowed to build up, your immune system will produce toxins in an attempt to eliminate the bacteria. Unfortunately, these toxins also lead to the damage of healthy tissue.
There are two major forms of periodontal disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the most common and mild form of periodontal disease. Symptoms include gums that are swollen, dark red, and tender. Receding gums or gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss are also indicative of gingivitis. Luckily, gingivitis is easy to treat and reverse.
If left untreated, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis, a much more serious condition. Periodontitis can cause irreversible damage to the gum tissues, connective ligaments, and supportive bone. It may also cause deep periodontal pockets to form. These pockets can trap more bacteria and food debris, which will worsen your condition. Ultimately, you may experience tooth loss.
Prompt treatment of gingivitis can usually reverse the symptoms and prevent more serious complications. Treatment and prevention of gingivitis starts with improvements to your oral care routine. Be sure to brush and floss your teeth with the proper technique. Brushing and flossing more effectively can significantly reduce the instances of plaque and tartar. An antibacterial mouthwash can also give you extra protection from the bacteria that are hiding in the hard-to-reach places of your mouth.
Regular checkups and professional cleanings are also an important part of treating and preventing gingivitis. During your checkup, Dr. Neu will be able to diagnose any signs of gingivitis before it leads to periodontitis. During your professional cleaning, our dental hygienist will be able to remove all traces of plaque, tartar, and bacteria.
Periodontitis is a little more difficult to treat. If we notice any signs of periodontitis, we will recommend a procedure known as a scaling and root planing. Scaling and root planing is essentially a more involved version of a professional cleaning. During the procedure, Dr. Neu or our dental hygienist will use an ultrasonic scaler to break up plaque and tartar deposits. The scaler also eliminates any traces of bacteria. Next, we smooth out any rough surfaces of the roots during the planing process. Removing rough surfaces should prevent the plaque, tartar, and bacteria from re-establishing underneath the gumline.
Schedule Your Appointment
If you would like to learn more about periodontal maintenance, call (847) 230-9143, and schedule your appointment now.