Gum disease or periodontal disease is a leading oral concern among millions globally. Gum disease refers to the infection or inflammation of the gum tissues. It is primarily caused by plaque. When you don’t clean your teeth properly, food particles and other debris mix with the harmful bacteria in the mouth, forming plaque.
With time, plaque builds up and hardens to form tartar, a yellow-brown deposit that attaches to the teeth and along the gum line. These deposits can irritate the gums and cause infection in the gum tissues, leading to inflammation. At this level, even the most rigorous brushing and flossing won’t help. You need professional care from your dentist to get rid of the tartar and the infection.
In the early stages, gum disease is called gingivitis. Seeking the right treatments on time can help treat and reverse gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis progress to a more serious and irreversible stage known as periodontitis. The condition can only be treated but not reversed.
Similarly, untreated gum disease can increase your risk of severe health problems like heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and respiratory disease. For this reason, if you suspect you may have periodontal disease, it’s highly essential to seek the right treatments in time. Common symptoms to watch out for include:
Regular dental examinations and cleanings can help prevent and catch gum disease on time when treatment is usually easy, less costly, and most successful. Experts recommend having at least two dental checkups and cleanings every year.
If you have gum disease, your dentist will create a customized treatment plan to eliminate the symptoms and get your mouth healthy again. Typically, periodontal treatment includes three phases, including:
In this phase, the gum disease treatment focuses on controlling the infection and restoring the health of your gums. At this stage, the dentist will try to identify the underlying cause so they can address it.
During this phase, the dentist can perform procedures such as scaling and root planning to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth and gums. You can also be given topical or oral antibiotics to control the infection.
Your dentist will also educate you about proper dental care and habits to ensure excellent hygiene and health. You’re also required to stop smoking or using other tobacco products.
If the less invasive treatments aren’t effective, your dentist will recommend surgical procedures. This only happens when the gum pockets are too deep to clean. Surgical procedures for advanced periodontal disease include:
As the name suggests, the maintenance phase focus on preventing the periodontal disease from returning. There’s always a high recurrence risk without careful maintenance. Your dentist will guide you through crucial oral hygiene practices and habits you must follow, including: