Gum disease normally begins when the gingiva become inflamed after exposure to an irritating agent. Typically, tartar accumulation serves as the catalyst for the development of gum disease because this substance collects along the gum line and the roots of teeth. As a response, the gums will pull away from the irritating agent. As the gums recede, it will expose more of the roots of teeth to oral debris and bacteria. As tartar continues to build, inflamed and irritated gums eventually become infected. As the disease progresses, it will destroy the structures that support teeth – gums and bone. Periodontal disease is also the leading cause of tooth loss among the adult population.
Periodontal therapy helps remove tartar deep below the gum line, and smooth the roots of teeth to prevent the accumulation of new tartar. These treatments also help encourage new tissue growth and keep the gums stimulated. One popular form of periodontal therapy we offer are prophylactic treatments called “scaling and root planing”.
Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical procedure performed to treat gum disease. It is not an overly invasive treatment protocol, either. Using small dental instruments, we can access the deepest part of the gums and the roots of teeth to remove tartar accumulation. Then, the gums are thoroughly cleaned and the roots of teeth are filed down to impede the attachment of new tartar on the root surface of teeth. Scaling and root planing is normally performed incrementally and some patients might require more treatments than others. Some people might need prescription mouth rinses and antibiotics to manage infected tissue and control oral bacteria.
If you suspect you might have periodontal disease, call our practice to reserve an appointment with Dr. Kuban.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is a condition that is marked by inflamed and infected gingiva. Also called “gum disease”, periodontal disease can progress into an aggressive condition that impairs the health of the entire oral cavity. Advanced periodontal disease can destroy more than gums. It destroys teeth and bone as well.
In its early stages, periodontal disease can be cured when patients receive professional treatment and improve their oral hygiene regimens. If periodontal disease progresses past a certain point, the condition can only be managed and improved with treatment but it cannot be cured. This is why early detection and intervention is so important for protecting oral health.
How can I prevent periodontal disease?
Preventing periodontal disease begins with committing to your oral health and wellbeing. This commitment should involve attending routine dental appointments, eating a balanced diet low in sugar, and performing proper oral hygiene that includes brushing and flossing. Visiting our practice twice a year for cleanings and checkups gives our team an opportunity to detect periodontal disease before it advances to its more dangerous state.
What causes gum disease?
A few different things can contribute to periodontal (gum) disease. The most common contributor to gum disease is the accumulation of tartar, which commonly accompanies those who do not practice adequate oral hygiene. Tartar contributes to gum disease by building up along the gum line. As tartar builds up, the gums will pull away (recede) from teeth as an inflammatory response. Tartar is also full of bacteria, which can infect the gums.
In addition to tartar, other factors contribute to gum disease by increasing blood flow and/or drying soft oral tissue. Hormonal fluctuations like those seen in puberty and pregnancy can increase the likelihood of gingival irritation because hormones can increase blood flow thus making the gums more sensitive. Medications and health conditions that cause dry mouth can affect gum health, too. Dry gums are easily irritated; and therefore, prone to infection.
What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that can be cured when people receive timely treatment and take care of their oral health through proper brushing and flossing. Many times, dentists and dental hygienists detect signs of gum disease long before patients notice symptoms. While gingivitis is often asymptomatic, there are some indications patients can look for when it comes to monitoring their gum health. If a person notices blood on his or her toothbrush, he or she should continue to brush with a soft bristle toothbrush and floss as normal. If symptoms continue or worsen, call our dentist to schedule a checkup.