Periodontal (Gum) Disease Maintenance
Gum disease is extremely common, affecting over half of the American adult population. If left untreated, it can lead to a variety of complications, including loose teeth, tooth loss, and even systemic complications such as diabetes, heart attack, cancer, and stroke. Managing your periodontal disease is key to preventing problems later on in life. We here at Myers Dental provide a treatment program known as periodontal disease maintenance for our patients with the advanced stage of gum disease, helping ward off these issues and keep their smile healthy and happy.
What is Periodontal (Gum) Disease Maintenance?
An infection in your gums, periodontal disease can be identified by its two main classifications. Early-stage gum disease is called gingivitis, and advanced stage gum disease is called periodontitis or periodontal disease. If caught early, gingivitis is entirely reversible and can be treated and completely cured by introducing a good oral hygiene regimen such as brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing nightly. Signs of gingivitis include a foul odor on your breath (halitosis), blood in your saliva after you brush and floss, red and swollen gums, and receding gums. Surprisingly, gingivitis is often not painful for our patients, which makes it all the more difficult to detect.
Once gum disease progresses to periodontitis, however, it needs to be treated like a chronic disease (not unlike diabetes or any other chronic illness). It cannot be cured, but the symptoms of it can be managed. Unlike gingivitis, periodontitis can be quite painful. Signs that you may have periodontal disease include the presence of swollen, red, and painful gums. Your teeth may appear "longer" as your gums recede and you may notice your gums start to pull away from your teeth (dental pockets). Your gums may start to bleed, and you may have a metallic or sour taste in your mouth. Your teeth may become loose or start to fall out. Visible tartar and buildup may be present on your teeth. For more severe cases, pus may format your gumline.
When our patients schedule an appointment at our office for a routine checkup, we will perform a prophylactic cleaning. This is a regular cleaning designed to keep your teeth healthy and clean. For our patients with advanced stage periodontal disease, however, we need to perform a deep cleaning. This procedure is called scaling and root planing. Scaling and root planing involves removing all of the tartar and buildup from your teeth, even up under your gumline. The surface of your tooth will also be smoothed down, removing all of the rough parts. This works twofold by preventing germs from reattaching to your gums and also helps your gums reattach to your tooth roots.
After your scaling and root planing, we will advise a more frequent follow-up schedule to help maintain your oral health. This will help prevent further progression of your periodontal disease and help prevent any tooth loss. Depending on how advanced your periodontal disease is, we may recommend that you return every three to four months for additional cleaning and treatment.
To learn more about periodontal disease, or to schedule an appointment at our office, please give us here at Myers Dental a call at (512) 506-9889 today!