Periodontal (gum) disease is a serious threat to a person’s oral health – especially when it advances into its most aggressive stages. Advanced gum disease is actually the leading cause of tooth loss because it erodes and destroys the support structures of teeth (gums and bone). If caught in its earliest stages, gum disease is curable with professional cleanings and vigilant oral hygiene practices. When gum disease begins to advance or is diagnosed in an aggressive stage, it must be managed with periodontal therapy such as scaling and root planing. Thompson Dental offers treatments for various stages of gum disease customized to a person’s unique needs.
Causes of Gum Disease
A few factors contribute to periodontal disease. First and most commonly, the development of tartar buildup inflames and irritates the gums, causes recession of the gum line, and increases the risk of infection. Hormonal fluctuations like those that occur during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause increase the risk for gum disease since they increase blood flow throughout soft tissues in the body and therefore make the gingiva more sensitive. Medications that dry the mouth and lifestyle choices like drinking or smoking also contribute to gingival inflammation. Lastly, genetic predispositions and certain conditions like diabetes can contribute to an increased risk for periodontal disease. Patients who are going through times of hormonal ebbs and flow or those with an increased risk for gum disease should practice thorough and meticulous hygiene.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
The onset of gum disease can be asymptomatic, and in most cases, symptoms become more noticeable as the condition progresses. The most common symptoms of periodontal disease include having gums that bleed during brushing or flossing along with a receding gum line that exposes more of the tooth’s structure to oral debris and bacteria. Other symptoms include gums that appear swollen, red and purple. They may also develop sores and look infected. In advanced cases of this condition, teeth can become loose, which can eventually lead to tooth loss because the infection present in periodontal disease has destroyed gums and bone mass surrounding a tooth’s root. Since the symptoms of gum disease can vary, it is best to keep regular appointments. Having routine checkups and cleanings greatly increase your chances of detecting potential problems in their earliest stages.
Thompson Dental offers periodontal therapy for those suffering from various stages of gum disease. The effects of early staged gum disease can be mitigated with increased vigilance through oral hygiene and professional dental cleanings. If gum disease has caused the formation of periodontal pockets over three millimeters in diameter, periodontal therapy (also called scaling and root planing) will be prescribed. Scaling and root planing are two procedures that are performed together. These procedures are a non-surgical approach that removes the accumulation of tartar deep between teeth and below the gum line. The roots of teeth are also gently smoothed so that the attachment of tartar in the future is less likely. Scaling and root planing will also help promote the generation and subsequent reattachment of gingiva along the anterior and posterior sides of teeth and in between teeth where periodontal pockets have formed.
In addition to scaling and root planing, other treatment options might include the use of prescribed oral rinses, antibiotics and specialized oral hygiene instruments that can be used at home. Since periodontal disease is such a threat to oral health and well being, our team at Thompson Dental is committed to combating this disease with effective and proactive treatment protocols. Call our office today to reserve a consultation.