Maintain Your Healthy Gums
Regular brushing and flossing benefit more than just your teeth. Plaque and tartar buildup can also compromise the integrity of your gums. If you’ve noticed your gums become red, swollen, or start bleeding while you brush your teeth, you may have the beginnings of periodontal disease. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common infection that affects up to half of American adults. Fortunately, expert dentist Dr. Jocelyn Spaulding and the team at Spaulding Dentistry offer top-of-the-line periodontal treatments for our guests in the Atlanta, GA area.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, affects more than 47% of all adults over the age of 30. When important oral hygiene habits such as brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist every six months fall by the wayside, it allows plaque to accumulate. Over time, this will lead to infection in the gums.
There are three stages of gum disease: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. Most periodontal disease is caught while it is still in the gingivitis stage. This makes it easier for Dr. Spaulding to treat it quickly and prevent symptoms from progressing any further. During this stage, you may notice your gums becoming red and inflamed. When treated promptly, gingivitis can be reversed without any lasting effects.
When gingivitis is left untreated, it develops into periodontitis as the infection spreads from the gums to the jawbone. You’ll notice that your gums start receding to form pockets, making it easier for bacteria to build up. Without treatment, periodontitis can cause severe pain and other health complications.
If periodontitis is allowed to progress to advanced periodontitis, your gums will recede further. This causes the pockets to deepen and harbor more infection. During this stage, your teeth may loosen and eventually fall out.
Early Warning Signs of Gum Disease
The effects of gingivitis, or early-stage periodontal disease, can be reversed. That is why it’s important to seek early treatment. If you’re in the early stages of gum disease, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Bleeding when you brush or floss
- Pain while chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Gums that pull away from your teeth
- A change in the fit of partial dentures
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, Spaulding Dentistry can help. Don’t hesitate to start your treatment before symptoms get worse. Call (404) 634-5738 today to schedule an appointment.
Treating Gum Disease
The first course of treatment is the easiest. Daily oral hygiene maintenance and regular dental cleaning and exams are the first line of defense against gum disease. Professional tooth cleanings break down tartar buildup in a way that is nearly impossible to do at home.
At your regular appointment, Dr. Spaulding will examine your teeth and gums to determine the severity of your periodontal disease and discuss further treatment options with you.
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical procedure performed when your gum disease has started to damage your healthy gum tissue. Our Decatur dentist, Dr. Spaulding, uses an ultrasonic dental tool to thoroughly clean your gums and remove built-up plaque and tartar.
This treatment removes plaque, excess bacteria, and tartar from your gums by smoothing out the rough spots on your root surfaces and teeth. It also helps prevent bacterial build-up from accumulating in these areas in the future. Scaling and root planing also smooth out any rough surfaces on the tooth and roots to prevent bacteria from settling on the freshly sanitized area, providing a healthy, clean surface that promotes gum reattachment and rehabilitation.
Pocket depth reduction surgery, otherwise known as flap surgery, lifts gum tissue away from the bone of your teeth and roots to allow access to the pockets of bacteria, which may accumulate behind the gums. Bacteria is cleared away and accumulated tartar is removed from the surface of teeth. After sterilization, the gum tissue is sutured into place around the base of the teeth to promote healthy gum growth.
Depending on the details of your case, either a connective-tissue gum graft or a pedicle gum graft may be the optimal solution to restore healthy tissue to the roots of your teeth. These procedures address receding gums by integrating donor gum tissue or extending the tissue of your gums to achieve optimal coverage.
Frequently Asked Questions
After deep cleaning, any swelling or discomfort should subside within a couple of weeks. The time will vary from patient to patient, depending on the extent of their infection. To promote gum healing and keep your mouth free of bacteria, you’ll want to follow any instructions given to you by Dr. Spaulding and rinse your mouth with warm saltwater. We also recommend using over-the-counter pain medications to ease any discomfort or swelling you may experience after a deep cleaning.
When caught early on, gum disease can be cured with professional deep cleanings combined with excellent oral hygiene practices. However, once the infection has progressed into periodontitis, the gums and bone become damaged and can lead to lifelong oral health effects.
Fortunately, you can improve your oral health and decrease your risk of developing infections by brushing twice a day, flossing routinely, and rinsing between meals.
There is a link between gum disease and heart disease. Gum disease is caused by harmful bacteria gathering below your gum line. This same bacteria can spread to other parts of your body through your bloodstream if gum disease advances past gingivitis. When this occurs, the bacteria can cause serious health concerns, including heart disease.
Bacteria from gum disease can cause the narrowing of your arteries, and directly infect your heart valves. Getting treatment for gum disease can help increase your life expectancy and reduce your risk of health complications.
Don’t Wait to Treat Your Gums
When caught early enough, gingivitis can be treated and even reversed. That’s why it’s so vital to schedule biannual appointments. To schedule your cleaning appointment, call our Decatur office today at (404) 634-5738 or fill out our convenient online contact form.