Periodontal Maintenance and Care
Gum disease is the inflammation and recession of the gums. Soft tissues also known as the gingiva can develop into gingivitis if neglected. Your teeth supporting bone structures are very complex and can change shape with age and tooth loss. Long-term, severe gum inflammation and recession can lead to the decay and loss of these bone structures - a condition called periodontitis.
Strong oral health has a trickle-down effect on the overall health of your body. Teeth allow you to pronounce words, and chew food so it can be digested with less energy and absorb more nutrients into the body. The most effective means to prevent gum disease is through good oral hygiene habits and consistent dental exams every six months. If you are in need of a primary dentist or have gum recession, reach out to our team at Division Smiles Family Dental to schedule a dental exam.
Stages of Periodontitis
Periodontitis is inflammation of the teeth's supporting bone structures called the periodontium. It is a more advanced stage of gum disease and will develop if gingivitis is left untreated. The symptoms of periodontitis can lead to severe gum recession, abscesses, tooth loss, and periodontal pockets.
Periodontal pockets are gaps between your gum and tooth that develop from gum disease. These spaces can lead to plaque and tartar buildup near the root of the tooth. Buildup in these pockets is hard to reach with tooth brushing. They can lead to tooth decay, tooth loss, and root canals. Regular oral hygiene cannot treat periodontitis, gum recession, or pockets. Treatment for these conditions can be nonsurgical if caught early on.
In cases where surgery is necessary, procedures used include bone grafts, soft tissue grafts, and flap surgery. Not all cases need surgery. Scaling and root planing are two procedures that can treat pockets. Scaling is used during standard dental cleanings when tartar has built on the tooth. A scaler is used to remove hard tartar from the tooth. Root planing is the removal of tartar that has embedded itself under the flaps of the gum around the tooth's root.
If standard root planing is not possible, the dentist may need to perform flap surgery. Flap surgery is when the dentist cuts a small "flap" of gum away from the affected side of the tooth. With the root of the tooth exposed, the dentist can more effectively remove tartar. Gum recession is irreversible. When the symptoms lead to a non-aesthetically pleasing appearance, a small piece of tissue can be removed from the roof of the mouth to cover the exposed roots. This procedure is known as a soft tissue graft. Periodontitis can lead to loss of alveolar bone, the bone structure supporting your teeth. Bone grafts are small pieces of bone tissue that may be taken from the patient, donated, or from an animal source. This piece is inserted into the cavity and will stimulate new bone growth.
Periodontitis and gum disease can be prevented with regular visits to Division Smiles Family Dental. The effects of gingivitis can be reversed at home with diligent oral hygiene. If you are experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, call our team at (971) 978-0293 to schedule an appointment.