Gum Disease: How Your Dentist Will Treat Your Condition
You have gum disease, and you're not alone: half of American adults have gum or periodontal, disease. Signs of gum disease include swollen or discolored gums, bleeding while brushing your teeth, pain when flossing, and foul breath.
Periodontal disease is not only uncomfortable; the condition can be damaging to your overall oral health. Gum disease causes bacteria and toxins to enter into the roots of your teeth and can even compromise the health of your jaw bone. Preserve your teeth and make your gums healthier by letting your dentist fully treat your gum disease condition.
It's daunting not knowing what to expect as part of your oral care routine; this guide will help you in understanding just how your dentist will treat your current gum disease and how you can keep periodontal disease at bay in the future.
Regular teeth cleanings, which should be done every six months, is far less intensive than a periodontal cleaning is. A periodontal cleaning involves a deeper cleaning of the roots and gums of the teeth, whereas a traditional cleaning only treats the crown and sides of your teeth.
Your dental hygienist will use a special tool to lift the gum tissue from your jaw bone to remove bacteria, hardened plaque, and tarter from your gums and tooth roots. This type of cleaning is often done under local anesthesia or numbing medicine to make the intensive cleaning more comfortable.
If your gum disease is severe, your dentist will recommend cleaning your teeth in multiple sessions rather than all at one time. Your gums will have time to heal in between cleanings, so you experience little to no discomfort during the procedures. You will receive periodontal cleanings at every checkup until your gum disease is managed.
If your gum disease has infected a tooth or caused an abscess, your dentist will address any infection in your mouth before they schedule you for continued cleaning treatments or tooth fillings/removal. Prescription antibiotics will be prescribed for a number of days (take as directed by your dentist and your pharmacist), then you will return to your dentist's office for a checkup and further treatment.
Other prescriptions your dentist may give you include special mouthwash and toothpaste, designed to keep plaque and tartar under better control. Your dentist will closely monitor your oral health to ensure that you're making improvements to the health of your gums and teeth before discontinuing any of your prescriptions.
Oral Health Guidance
Depending on the severity of your current gum disease, your condition may be simple to treat or take several months to get under control. Your dentist will show you ways you can care for your gums and teeth, including flossing between your teeth and into the gum line, using an electric toothbrush to get behind your teeth, and consuming foods that strengthen tooth enamel while cleaning your gums (such as raw apples or carrots).
You may need to make lifestyle changes to keep your gum disease at bay (if applicable), including:
- Quitting smoking/chewing
- Reducing intake of acidic foods
- Quitting/reducing alcohol use
- Reducing stress
While gum disease is widespread, this doesn't mean the condition should not be taken seriously. Without treatment, gum disease can lead to tooth loss, serious infection, and even jaw bone damage. Follow all your dentist's recommendations for care and arrive at all your dental cleaning appointments.
With the right treatment and oral care habits, you and your dentist can work together to keep your gum disease from worsening. Our team of dental specialists will bring a custom approach to your periodontal needs. Call us at the office of Michael J. Wallace, DDS LLC today to set up an appointment.