You don’t need a degree in dentistry to notice that there is more to your mouth than just your teeth! Your gums actually play a vital role in your oral health as well, as they both provide support for the teeth and protect the sensitive enamel around their roots. If plaque and bacteria are allowed to build up along the gums, they can actually develop an infection called periodontal disease, otherwise known as gum disease. This can have far-reaching effects on both a person’s smile and overall health, but at Chisholm Trail Dental Health, our team is ready to help patients overcome this problem at its earliest signs.
As with any dental problem, the best approach to treating periodontal disease is to catch it as early as possible. When we examine a patient’s gums during their regular checkups, we’ll keep an eye out for early symptoms, which include redness, swelling, and sensitivity around the gum line. Frequent oral bleeding, persistent bad breath, and gum recession are more advanced symptoms, and if we notice any of them, we’ll recommend a targeted treatment plan for a patient.
After diagnosing a patient with periodontal disease, the first step to getting rid of it is to eliminate the accumulation of plaque and bacteria located around the gums and roots of the teeth. To do this, we can perform a specialized dental cleaning called scaling and root planing. Once the buildup around the gums has been broken up (scaling), we’ll then reshape the roots of the teeth to make plaque less likely to gather on them in the future (root planing), lowering the chances of periodontal disease coming back.
Periodontal disease bacteria primarily tends to gather in the small spaces between the teeth and gums called periodontal pockets. These can grow and stretch deep below the gum line as the infection becomes more advanced, causing some bacteria to develop beyond the reach of a regular cleaning. Fortunately, an antibiotic called Arestin can be applied directly to the gums. It quickly dries and then slowly dissolves, allowing it to reach and kill any remaining hidden bacteria.
Periodontal disease is a very persistent infection, so after an initial treatment in our office, a patient will need regular follow-up care to prevent it from coming back. Periodontal maintenance is a two-pronged approach. Firstly, a patient will need to practice consistent oral hygiene at home, brushing and flossing every day, and they will also need to visit Chisholm Trail Dental Health more often for regular cleanings. This is proven to keep periodontal disease bacteria under control and preserve a patient’s long-term oral health.