Take a good look around you at your friends. There is a good chance that someone is telling a funny story about what happened at work today, someone else is thinking about what they are making for dinner tonight, and oh yeah, at least half of them may have gum disease. Wait. What? It is true – over half of all American adults have some degree of periodontal disease, which means that there is a good chance that you or your friends may be suffering from this highly common condition and may not even know it!
Early-stage gum disease is quite treatable, but once it advances to a more severe case, it needs to be managed like a chronic illness. When we meet a patient in our exam chair who has gum disease, we here at Sharokina Eshaghi, DMD often recommend that they start a treatment procedure known as periodontal care to help them manage their gum disease.
What is Periodontal Care and Why Would I Need It?
Gum disease is caused by bacteria that form along your teeth and your gumline. The sticky, fuzzy residue that builds up along your teeth is called plaque, and if you do not take steps to remove it, it can start to give off toxins that can attack your gums.
Early-stage gum disease is known as gingivitis, and if we catch it early, we can cure it. Signs that you may have gingivitis include blood in your saliva after you brush and floss, red or swollen gums, bad breath (also known as halitosis), and receding gums. Once your gum disease progresses to a more advanced stage, it becomes known as periodontitis. At this stage, it is no longer curable, and we need to introduce periodontal care to help manage it.
One of the first things that we recommend to our patients to manage their periodontal disease is a procedure known as scaling and a root planing. Most of our patients are familiar with scaling. Scaling includes using a small handheld device to remove all of the hardened buildup (calculus) from your teeth, removing debris and stains from them.
A root planing is somewhat different. It involves us carefully cleaning up underneath your gumline, then polishing your tooth roots. This smooths out any bumps or divots on them. A root planing works in two ways. First, it smooths down the tooth, making it harder for calculus to form again underneath your gumline. Secondly, because your tooth roots are smooth, your gums can reattach to them. This reduces the depth of your gum pockets and helps stop your gum recession in its tracks.
We Want To Help
We may also advise that you come in for more frequent appointments. While we typically recommend that our patients come in every six months for a checkup and a cleaning, if you need periodontal care for your gum disease, we may recommend that you return for more frequent cleanings, as often as every three to four months.
If left untreated, gum disease can lead to a long list of terrible complications. This includes diabetes, heart attack, Alzheimer’s, stroke, cancer, and death. If you would like to learn more about gum disease and periodontal care, or you would like to set up an appointment with us, please give us a call here at Sharokina Eshaghi, DMD at (209) 526-4884 today!