The world of dentistry isn’t just about teeth. There’s a whole lot more to it. In fact, one of the things we do at every cleaning is check to see that your gums are healthy, too.
Gum disease is one of the most common problems we see in patients. It may sound minor, and it certainly starts out that way. If left untreated, gum disease can ultimately result in tooth loss.
What Is Gum Disease?
In the simplest terms possible, gum disease happens when your gums get irritated by a bacteria called plaque.
Plaque is a bacterial film that grows on our teeth every day. That’s why we need to brush and floss regularly. Daily oral hygiene keeps plaque to a minimum, when done consistently and correctly.
However, that bacteria is pretty persistent. It finds all of the hard-to-reach places on your teeth and digs in for the long haul, eventually hardening into tartar. Tartar doesn’t come off with just a toothbrush or a piece of floss.
Plaque and tartar cause irritation to the gums. At first, this shows up as gingivitis.
Characteristics of gingivitis are:
- Red or swollen gums.
- Chronic bad breath.
- Minor bleeding.
The good news is that gingivitis is easily treated. When you come to our office for a professional cleaning, we can get all of that tartar off your teeth for a fresh, clean start.
The bad news is that when gingivitis is left untreated it can develop into periodontitis. This stage of gum disease can result in:
- Severe gum recession.
- Irritation and damage to the surrounding bone and tissue.
- Tooth loosening.
- Bacterial growth and irritation below the gum line.
- Eventual tooth loss.
Periodontitis can be stopped—once again through thorough cleanings—but its effects are not so easily reversed. The best way to deal with periodontitis is to stop it before it starts.
That’s why we’re here.
At every regular checkup, we clean your teeth in all those difficult places. We can get rid of tartar, clean out all the plaque, and keep a close eye on the health of your gums. At the first sign of gum disease, we do what we can to stop it in its tracks.
In cases of more severe gum disease, we can do a procedure known as deep cleaning and scaling. That means that we not only clean up the parts of your teeth that you can see, but we get below the surface as well. Any buildup below the gum line is removed, after which we smooth out the tooth’s surface, so future plaque has a much harder time sticking around.
Call Sooner Rather than Later
If you are suffering any of the symptoms of gum disease, don’t hesitate to call. The sooner we can get the plaque and tartar removed, the sooner your gums can begin to heal.