This woman could be on the verge of losing all her teeth to gum disease. But her teeth look perfect–how could that be? Your teeth can be gorgeous, white, straight, shiny… and you could still lose them if the supporting structures (your gums) are not healthy.
Think the signs of gum disease are always obvious? Think again. One of the most vital reasons for consistent dental care is to guard against gum disease.
Gum disease is often nearly symptomless. It can progress over many years at a very gradual rate. By the time clear symptoms emerge, it might be too late for treatment, and you could lose all your teeth. Prevention, however, is not complicated. Good home care and regular profession cleanings combined with careful early detection procedures are the best ways to avoid this distressing scenario.
Treatment of Gum Disease
- If we detect gum disease, treatment will probably involve “root planing” or “scaling”. These are both names for the process of deep cleaning below the gumline, to remove the tartar and microbial debris from the tooth surface that lies below the gumline.
- This cleaning generally takes hours. It is often done under anesthetic, and is spaced out over several visits. In some cases, dentists are also using a light course of the antibiotic tetracycline, which helps prevent bone destruction. An regular schedule of antimicrobal irrigation treatments may also be scheduled for the period of time following the scaling procedure.
- If your gum disease is more isolated, we have localized treatments with antibiotics that are placed right in the pockets of infection.
Avoiding a Reoccurrence of Gum Disease
In the future, you will need to increase the frequency of your routine cleanings, so the health of your gums can be carefully monitored. You will need to come in for regular cleanings every three months, instead of every six months. The dental hygienist that performs your cleaning will have to have special training, and it will take longer than it used to. This also means that it will cost more–probably about double what it used to to get your teeth cleaned.
Your at-home care must be very, very good. To avoid a reoccurrence, you must floss every day, avoid snacking between meals, and brush after you eat, always. Most people “cheat” on at least one aspect of this model of dental care, but you will no longer be able to if you want to avoid another bout of gum disease.