Our teeth are meant to last a lifetime. They take significant punishment when you consider the tons of pressure they must withstand every day. If we want them to last we need to take good care of them. When they are not properly cared for, problems develop. Your teeth may not have cavities, but they may still have problems. Gum disease is one of the number one reasons older adults lose their teeth. Periodontal therapy can save them, if the disease is caught in time.
HOW PERIODONTAL DISEASE PROGRESSES
It begins quietly enough as plaque builds up. Even if you brush your teeth regularly, you can still have plaque buildup in difficult to reach places. When this clear, sticky substance is left on the teeth the bacteria in it begins to manufacture a hard substance called tartar, also known as calculus. As the yellowish-brown tartar builds up on the teeth, it begins to push the gums away from the tooth. This causes the gums to become bright pink or red. They also begin to look puffy or swollen. Brushing your teeth may cause them to bleed from time to time. Toxins build up as the body produces antibodies to fight the infection and if left to spread, the infection can dissolve the bone around the teeth. This causes them to loosen and eventually they will fall out. The infection can cause illness in the body if it gets into the bloodstream. Periodontal therapy can stop the infection before it has a chance to do further damage.
HOW PERIODONTAL THERAPY HELPS
Ideally, treatment would begin in the early stages of gingivitis. This would include thoroughly cleaning the teeth and removing the tartar above and below the gum line. A special toothpaste and/or mouthwash may be prescribed to help the healing process. When periodontal disease is advanced it is called periodontitis and more rigorous measures are required to fight the disease. Cleaning the teeth includes removal of the tartar. Special instruments are used for this. The hygienist may use hand tools and/or ultrasound tools which break up the hardened tartar. Next the roots of the teeth are planed with a tool to make them smooth so that the gums can reattach. Sometimes surgery is required to treat periodontitis. Necrotic, or damaged gum tissue needs to be removed. When this is the case, the surgery site is covered with a special material which assists in healing the area. At times antibiotics are also used in periodontal therapy to stop the infection. Depending on the extent of the infection they may be placed on the gum or they may be taken internally. Your dentist will explain the complete process to you. Treatment requires that patients follow the protocol as laid out by the dentist. Return visits are important so that the healing process can be monitored. You smile does not need to be compromised by infection from periodontitis. Find out more about periodontal therapy by calling The Smile Artisans. We help patients achieve and maintain their best oral health.