You have most likely received a nice but firm lecture from either your dental hygienist or your dentist about gum disease. The disease they are referring to is periodontitis, and there is a very good reason they bring it up. What is that reason? And what can you do to work with your dentist to prevent, or treat, the problem?
What is periodontitis?
The term “periodontitis” means “inflammation around the tooth.” Bacteria growing just below the gumline causes this inflammation because a buildup of plaque has not been taken care of quickly.
Over time, the bacteria will start creating pockets just under the gumline where it can be hard to control without dental intervention. The reason your dental professional might mention this to you often is that the treatments for more advanced cases are not only expensive, but also not the easiest dental procedures to endure.
There are also more far-reaching reasons to prevent or treat periodontitis quickly, as there is evidence to show that periodontitis may also affect a person’s chances for heart disease, stroke and other more serious health problems. There are ongoing studies to help determine the validity of claims that periodontitis can lead to dementia in older patients, or even cause the onset of dementia.
Prevention of Periodontitis
Two simple but routine activities can greatly lessen your chances of developing gum disease later in life. The first is to brush your teeth, but in the most efficient way and with products that are made for the task. You should spend a few minutes talking to your dental hygienist about how to brush your teeth properly, as well as the products they feel will help you the most. The second activity is to visit your dental hygienist for a cleaning at least every six months. If you have already started developing mild signs of gum disease, they may recommend coming in more often.
There are many ways that your dentist can step in with treatment for gum disease if it has progressed to that point. Many of these treatments occur while you are also undergoing a scaling and root planing procedure:
- Antiseptic Chips
- Antibiotic Gel
- Antibiotic Microspheres
You may also be prescribed a powerful mouthwash designed to help with your gum disease treatment. Oral antibiotics may be used instead of, or along with, those mentioned above. An oral enzyme suppressant medication can be added to your periodontitis treatment plan if it becomes necessary.
More advanced periodontitis may require “flap surgery,” during which your dentist opens up the gums to thoroughly clean each tooth down to the root. When the gums are back in place, they are sutured and will be tighter against each tooth to help reduce the number of bacteria that builds up in those areas. If gum disease is not treated promptly, you may need to go as far as bone or tissue grafts to avoid tooth loss.
Sapphire Creek Dental is ready to tackle any of your dental health needs, and that includes periodontitis prevention and treatment. Contact the office and one our helpful and pleasant office staff will ensure you are scheduled for a consultation with one of our experienced dentists. After an initial exam, we can create a treatment plan for you that will have you flashing those pearly whites with confidence in no time at all.