Periodontal diseases (also known as gum diseases) are infections of the gum and bone that hold teeth in place. Bacteria found in plaque produces toxins that irritate the gums, which may cause them to turn red, swell and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form. As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss. Periodontal diseases are often painless and you may not be aware of that you have a problem until your gums and the supporting bone are seriously damaged.
Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include:
- Clenching and grinding teeth
- Poor nutrition
scaling and root planing
Periodontal diseases can be treated in the early stages with scaling and root planing or deep cleaning. Scaling is used to remove plaque and tartar beneath the gum line down to the bottom of pocket. The tooth’s root surfaces are then smoothed or planed. This procedure helps gum tissue to heal and periodontal pockets to shrink. The procedure also makes it more difficult for plaque to accumulate along the root surfaces again. A local anesthetic may be given to reduce any discomfort. Prescription mouthrinse or Arestin may be recommended after deep cleaning to aid healing and help control infection.
Preventing Gum Disease
The best way to prevent gum disease is effective daily brushing and flossing as well as regular professional examinations and cleanings. Unfortunately, even with the most diligent home dental care, people still can develop some form of periodontal disease. Once this disease starts, professional intervention is necessary to prevent its progress.