If you take a look around you at your circle of friends, would it surprise you to discover that at least half of them had some type of periodontal disease? Periodontal disease is one of the most common chronic illnesses plaguing Americans, despite it being highly preventable. While early-stage gum disease is treatable and can be cured, more advanced gum disease needs a special type of management called periodontal care.
Once your gum disease progresses to this point, it cannot be reversed and instead must be managed. At El Paso Modern Dentistry, we want our patients to understand the risks of gum disease, and why we like to manage it both in our office and in your home with periodontal care.
WHAT IS PERIODONTAL CARE AND WHO NEEDS IT?
Just because periodontal disease is common does not mean that it is harmless. If left untreated, gum disease can be quite dangerous and harmful to the individual who suffers from it. Gum disease can lead to a host of complications that can be life-threatening. It can cause a heart attack or stroke, for instance. It may also lead to Alzheimer’s or even lung cancer. People have died from complications from gum disease. Treating it quickly is vital to help ensure your best health.
Preventing gum disease is a team effort, between you and us. At home, you need to make sure you practice good oral hygiene. Make sure you brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each session. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums while using a fluoridated toothpaste. It would help if you also flossed at least once per day.
Start with an 18-inch segment of floss and use a clean piece per tooth, making sure you work it between each tooth and up underneath the gums to remove all trapped bacteria and food. In addition to keeping your teeth clean at home, you also need to make sure you visit us every six months for a checkup and a cleaning.
There are two primary types of gum disease. Early onset gum disease is also known as gingivitis. Signs of gingivitis include red or swollen gums, blood in your saliva when you brush and floss, and receding gums. It is surprisingly painless, so please do not disregard your oral health simply because you are not experiencing any pain. If caught while still in this stage, gum disease can be cured. However, once it advances to periodontitis, it is no longer reversible and needs to be managed like any other chronic disease.
WHAT WE CAN DO
Managing periodontitis requires periodontal care. This can include scaling and root planing. During a scaling, we will carefully remove all hardened calculus from your teeth. We will also advise a root planing, which will help stop the progression of your gum disease. This includes thoroughly cleaning up underneath your gumline.
We will remove all the calculus from your gums; then we will smooth your tooth roots. This makes it harder for bacteria to build up again in the future and makes it easier for your gums to reattach to your tooth roots. We may also recommend an antibiotic treatment to combat the infection, and more frequent appointments to help control and prevent the disease from getting worse.