Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is practically invisible when it first starts. The earliest stage, gingivitis, occurs when plaque and bacteria are left to build up in the mouth. When this happens, these contaminants irritate the gum tissue, triggering an inflammatory response from the immune system. Gingivitis is characterized by red, swollen gums that often bleed when you brush and floss. If this stage goes untreated, the condition only continues to grow worse. Swollen tissue pulls away from the teeth, leading to the formation of pockets.
Bacteria fall into these pockets. Here they continue to attack the gums but also begin to cause harm to the periodontal ligaments and your jawbone. Over time, the gums begin to recede, and the teeth loosen in their sockets. They are even at risk of falling out completely. Gum disease needs to be treated professionally for your oral health to be restored. At Spring Creek Family Dentistry, we can help with periodontal maintenance.
What Exactly is Periodontal Maintenance?
Periodontal maintenance is a series of scheduled exams that are done to remove buildup, including plaque, tartar, and bacteria, from your teeth following a diagnosis of, or following initial treatment for, gum disease. These cleanings are done to help stabilize the gums and the teeth, allowing your mouth to heal and your oral health to be restored. The exact frequency of these visits will depend upon your specific circumstances. Some patients have periodontal maintenance done every 2 to 3 months, while others can go as long as six months between appointments.
During your visits to our office, your mouth is thoroughly examined. We check the condition of your teeth and gums and measure periodontal pockets to make sure that the gum tissue is reattaching to the teeth. Digital X-rays are also taken. These images provide a look into the hidden structures of your mouth, including the roots of your teeth and your jawbone. Once we have examined your mouth, we then provide you with a thorough cleaning to remove any debris that may have accumulated on your teeth since your last visit.
Deep Cleaning Your Teeth with Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is a common treatment used following the diagnosis of gum disease, and is often followed by periodontal maintenance visits. This procedure involves the cleaning of all surfaces of the teeth, including the surfaces below the gum line. Scaling involves the cleaning of the visible surfaces of your teeth, including between them and around the gum line. Root planing, on the other hand, is the cleaning of the roots of the teeth below the gum line. This process helps to smooth the surface of the roots, making it difficult for bacteria to adhere and cause damage. An antibacterial wash is used at the completion of the cleaning, which helps to eliminate any lingering bacteria.
What are the Benefits of Periodontal Maintenance?
There are numerous benefits to periodontal maintenance.
||Slowing the progression of gum disease.
||Alleviating irritation and inflammation of the gum tissue.
||Removing even the most stubborn buildup from the surfaces of your teeth.
||Protecting your oral health.
How Do I Prevent New Gum Disease?
While periodontal maintenance helps to slow and stop the progression of gum disease, giving your gums and mouth an opportunity to heal, it is not a permanent solution. Taking proper care of your mouth is essential for ensuring that gum disease does not occur again. It is highly recommended that you brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss once daily. Regular dental cleanings and exams are also an integral part of a good oral health routine. Your diet can also play a role. Eating nutrient-dense foods, including ones that contain nutrients such as vitamins C and B12, can also help your gums to stay healthy and prevent new gum disease from taking hold.
If your oral health has been affected by the presence of gum disease, it is essential that you seek treatment as quickly as possible. For more information, and to schedule your consultation, call Spring Creek Family Dentistry today at 503-659-9658.