The term “periodontal” refers to the soft tissues that support your teeth, namely, the gums. Keeping your periodontal tissues healthy is vital to the structure and appearance of your smile. At Elite Dental of Natick, one of our main objectives is ensuring you receive and practice the proper periodontal care.
Taking Care of Your Gums at Home
Excellent periodontal care starts with your daily oral hygiene routine. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend flossing about once a day, ideally right before bed. Unfortunately, many people neglect to floss, which drastically increases their risk of root decay, gum disease, and other dental problems.
Brushing your teeth is not enough to maintain proper oral health. The bristles of a toothbrush are unable to reach certain areas around and underneath your gums. Flossing is one of the only ways to remove plaque, food debris, and bacteria from in between your teeth.
Even with a strong at-home hygiene routine, professional cleanings are a must. During your cleaning, we use an ultrasonic scaler to eliminate plaque and tartar (calcified plaque) from the surfaces of your teeth. Removing plaque and tartar, both above and below the gumline, can significantly reduce your chances of tooth decay and periodontal disease.
In many cases, tartar removal requires the use of a professional dental hand tool, such as an ultrasonic scaler. If plaque and tartar are allowed to build up, periodontal disease is inevitable. We typically recommend scheduling a cleaning every six months to prevent buildup.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal, or gum disease, is an infection of the periodontal tissues that can wreak havoc on your oral health. This infection stems from your immune system’s response to the bacteria found in plaque and tartar. When large amounts of bacteria are present, your immune system produces toxins that, unfortunately, target healthy tissues as well.
There are two stages of periodontal disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis, the first stage of the disease, results in gums that are red, swollen, and tend to bleed easily. At this stage, any damage caused by periodontal disease is easy to treat and reverse.
If gingivitis goes untreated, it will likely progress into periodontitis. During this stage of the disease, the infection may spread to the connective ligaments and underlying bone. The most common symptoms include receding gums, persistent bad breath, bone deterioration, and inexplicable pain.
Ultimately, the damage to these supportive tissues can cause tooth loss. Periodontal disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in the United States. To prevent this from happening, we may recommend a treatment known as scaling and root planing.
Treating Periodontal Disease
Luckily, gingivitis can be treated and reversed with improvements to your oral hygiene routine. Periodontitis, however, typically requires a scaling and root planing. Also referred to as “deep” cleaning, this procedure may be the best way to get your periodontal tissues back on track.
A scaling and root planing is essentially a more comprehensive version of professional cleaning. Because it is more extensive, the procedure may need to be split into several appointments. The goal is to completely remove all plaque and tartar deposits, reducing the bacteria that cause gum disease. If the treatment is a success, your gums should return to a pink, healthy state.
Schedule A Consultation Appointment
The proper periodontal care can drastically improve the aesthetics and health of your gums, teeth, and roots. Call (508) 319-9339 to schedule your initial consultation today!