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.
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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 dental 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.
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Gum disease is best treated when it’s caught in the early stages, which is why Dr. Asay performs a periodontal exam at every one of your checkups and cleanings. It’s also important to let us know if you experience any of the symptoms of gum disease, such as bleeding whenever you brush or floss. That way, we can begin periodontal (gum) disease treatment in Round Rock right away and save your smile. For your convenience, we’ve answered some of our most frequently asked questions about gum disease down below.
The bacteria associated with gum disease can eventually weaken the structures that keep your teeth firmly anchored in place. This may cause your teeth to shift, loosen, or even fall out! Since missing teeth come with a whole host of oral health problems, you’re going to want to prevent this at all costs.
There have even been studies pointing to a link between advanced gum disease and other medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease. This might be the result of the infection spreading from your mouth to the rest of your body and wreaking havoc on your overall health.
Being proactive about your oral health is the best way to keep gum disease at bay. This means brushing and flossing daily to remove leftover food particles and plaque that, if left to accumulate, could contribute to gum infections. Attend dental checkups on a regular basis. If you currently smoke or chew tobacco, ask your dentist in Round Rock for resources that can help you quit. Be sure to also let us know which medications you’re taking because some drugs can increase the risk of gum inflammation. Lastly, limit your consumption of sugar and eat plenty of mouth-healthy foods instead, like cheese, yogurt, and leafy greens.
The main cause of gum disease is built-up plaque and tartar, usually between the teeth and along the gumline, as a result of poor oral hygiene. Tobacco use can also contribute to gum disease. There are some uncontrollable factors that can increase your chances of developing gum disease, like genetics or having diabetes. However, by taking the steps listed above, you can minimize your risk.
While a procedure called scaling and root planing might sound painful, you shouldn’t experience much discomfort at all during your appointment. This is because Dr. Asay will numb your mouth with a local anesthetic to ensure your comfort before the procedure begins. You may feel some minor soreness for a few days afterward, but it’s nothing that can’t be managed by taking an over-the-counter pain reliever as directed. It also helps to avoid hot or spicy foods until your mouth has finished healing.