Gum disease is quite common, affecting over half of all adult Americans. However, just because this illness is common does not mean that it is harmless. Research has demonstrated that the bacteria found in gum disease is linked to many dangerous illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease and lung cancer. It has also been demonstrated to increase your risk of stroke and heart attack.
While early stage gum disease is curable, once it advances, it must be managed to control it better. When we here at Metropolitan Dental Specialty Group have a patient in our exam chair who is struggling with periodontal disease, we recommend that they get started on a periodontal treatment regimen to help combat the negative effects of gum disease and prevent lasting complications from arising later on in life.
What is Periodontal Treatment and How Does it Help?
Whenever you eat, especially sugary foods, the naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth will start to grow and multiply. If you have ever run your tongue across your teeth and felt that layer of “fuzz” that has formed on it, then you have encountered plaque. Plaque is made of those bacteria, and if you fail to remove it consistently, then the bacteria can release acids and toxins that will attack your teeth and gums. Over time, you may start to develop an infection. This infection is known as gum disease.
There are two types of gum disease. Early stage gum disease is known as gingivitis. If caught at this stage, we can cure it by introducing a good oral hygiene regimen. You can prevent it from occurring by staying on top of your dental checkups and cleanings and making sure you brush and floss your teeth at home. You need to brush your teeth twice a day, morning and night, with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste. Brush for two minutes each session at a 45-degree angle to your gums and follow up with flossing at least once per day.
However, once your gum disease advances, it becomes known as periodontitis. At this stage, it is no longer reversible and needs to be managed like a chronic disease. Periodontal treatment includes a variety of treatment options, but one of the more common ones that we use is called scaling and a root planing.
During a scaling and a root planing, we will first start by carefully and thoroughly removing all hardened buildup (called calculus or tartar) from your teeth. We will then remove it from underneath your gumline. The root planing part of this procedure includes removing the buildup from your tooth roots, then smoothing the tooth roots down to make them smooth. This makes it harder for the buildup to return. It also makes it easier for your gums to reattach to your tooth roots. This can help reduce the depth of your gum pockets, stopping gum recession in its tracks.
Come See Us
We may also advise that you come in for more frequent visits to help clean your teeth more frequently. This can slow or even stop the progression of your gum disease. If you would like to learn more about gum disease and periodontal treatment, or you would like to schedule an appointment with us here at Metropolitan Dental Specialty Group, please give us a call at (301) 585-0400 today!