A thorough, professional cleaning, commitment to home care and perhaps a special mouthwash or toothpaste may be all that is needed to eliminate gingivitis in its earliest stages. Regular dental checkups are a preventive measure that helps keep gum disease from affecting your oral health. But what happens when gingivitis is neglected and allowed to progress?
Ultimately, the endgame of advanced gum disease or periodontitis is loss of teeth. Anyone can lose teeth to periodontal disease. However, it is most common for adults, particularly older adults, to lose teeth this way. Stopping the disease requires the intervention of the dentist or hygienist.
Red, swollen gums that bleed are an indication of infection in the gums. The gums may begin to recede, exposing the roots of the teeth. This makes the teeth more susceptible to decay. At the same time, the infection that is brewing between the gums and teeth can cause the underlying bone to dissolve. This process forces the teeth to become loose in their sockets. Eventually, they fall out.
Gum Infection Treatment
When the infection in the gums is extensive, an antibiotic may be prescribed. Controlling and eliminating the infection is critical to healing the gums. If there is damaged tissue, this may need to be removed. Your dentist will advise you on the best course of treatment for your gum infection.
Scaling and Root Planing
The other vital procedure for treating periodontitis is thoroughly cleaning the teeth. This entails removing the hardened tartar that has pushed the gums away from the teeth. The pockets, which are the breeding grounds for infection, need to be cleaned out completely. This is done with special instruments.
The hygienist or dentist may use hand instruments to remove some of the tartar. An ultrasonic scaler will also be used. This instrument uses rapid vibration to essentially shatter tartar from the teeth. This is the preferred method of scaling. This is because the tip of the tool is extremely small and can reach areas that are difficult to reach with hand instruments.
When the teeth are completely free of tartar, a planing tool is used to scrape the roots smooth. The gums need smooth tooth structure in order to reattach. After this phase of therapy is completed, your dentist will instruct you on home care and advise you of further steps that need to be taken to treat the disease.
If you need periodontal therapy, contact Rock Point Family Dentistry today to schedule a consultation for your or a member of your family.