One of the things we look for during every dental checkup is gum disease. Gum disease is excessively common and exceedingly damaging; not only is it the leading cause of tooth loss, but it’s also been connected to a slew of health problems like rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes. Another name for gum disease is periodontal disease, and if we find evidence of periodontal disease during your checkup, we’ll possibly recommend non-surgical periodontal therapy.
Gum disease is progressive. Initially, it may be asymptomatic for a while. These early stages are known as gingivitis. As the gingivitis progresses, you may notice that your gums become red, tender, swollen, or even bleed when you brush or floss. At this stage of the disease, you may not need periodontal therapy. We may simply recommend more diligent dental hygiene at home. For some, merely flossing every day will reverse the infection and prevent further damage. But if the disease has advanced to periodontitis, then we will need to provide more advanced treatment. Periodontitis is the stage of gum disease during which the actual bone will start to deteriorate. As the gum disease breaks down, pockets form in the tissues that keep the gums attached to the teeth, and bacteria can proliferate in these pockets, leaving the roots exposed to decay. This is why gum disease eventually leads to tooth loss if untreated.
If we find that you’re suffering with periodontitis, we can perform periodontal therapy. Periodontal therapy involves scaling and root planing. This combination of steps is designed to clean deep below the gum line, removing the bacteria that causes gum disease and actually modifying tooth roots so that they’re less hospitable to the toxins that cause infection and inflammation.
Once we’ve completed your periodontal therapy, we’ll want to see you for checkups more regularly than usual, at least for a while. We’ll make sure that you understand the proper techniques and recommendations for brushing and flossing to prevent future gum disease flare ups. If you’ve noticed any signs that you might have gum disease, make sure you visit Picard Dental Associates as soon as possible for a checkup.
Picard Dental Associates offers a full range of general dentistry treatments, including periodontal therapy, because we want to do our best for protecting the smiles of Woonsocket, Rhode Island families. Take a positive step for your ongoing oral health -- contact us to make an appointment!