Periodontal Disease Treatment in Whitehouse
Your gums are both the foundation for optimal oral health and a key warning system that flashes a bright-red alarm when your teeth are in jeopardy.
Healthy gums are pink, vibrant and perfectly-contoured frames for your bright array of teeth. When gums are red, sore, inflamed and frequently bleed, you are on the road to periodontal disease. That is a journey that does not end well, with loss of teeth, attenuation of bone and migration of bacteria throughout the body all possible outcomes of chronic gum disease.
Causes of Periodontal Disease
Problems with gums typically begin with the buildup of plaque below the gum line. This happens when food and debris become lodged in gum pockets and harden into tartar. As layers of tartar accumulate over the years, bacteria thrive and inflame gum pockets. When the depth of these gum pockets increases, it is an indication that the bacteria have begun to eat away at the roots of teeth and the bone which secures the roots. Untreated, periodontal disease leads to a loosening of the root-bone connection, and ultimately the loss of the tooth.
Risks to Roots and Bone
That is not the end of the story. A missing tooth creates its own array of problems in your mouth. Natural roots stimulate the jaw bone, maintaining the integrity of this important structure. When gaps appear in the mouth, the bone lacks this essential root stimulation and the bone begins to atrophy. This can actually change your entire facial profile, creating a weak-jawed appearance that is sometimes seen in individuals of advanced age. In short, the loss of bone will make you look old beyond your years. Meanwhile, the bacteria that freely multiply below the gum line typically migrate to other areas of the body, causing dangerous inflammation and infection. Studies have linked this phenomenon with serious health conditions, including heart disease and stroke.
When gum disease is addressed in its early stages, reversal and restoration are possible. Advanced cases may require invasive interventions such as bone grafts or flap surgery. One of the most effective ways to treat periodontal disease is known as scaling and root planing. Sometimes referred to as deep cleaning, the procedure involves the removal of plaque below the gum line and a modest resurfacing of roots to allow a more secure gum-root bond. For more serious cases, a time-release antibiotic is also sometimes implanted in each individual gum pocket to eliminate any remaining bacteria and prevent a future microbial invasion.
Deep cleaning is necessary because regular brushing and flossing will not reach below the gum line. The deep cleaning procedure is a meticulous process that requires several office visits. One or two quadrants are cleaned at a time, with the use of a local anesthetic. Once the gums fully heal, you will notice a reduction in the depth of gum pockets. The goal is to ensure that pockets do not exceed 3 mm in depth. Anything beyond 5 mm is a cause for concern. At the end of the deep cleaning process, your gums will feel better. Your gum line will also improve in appearance; gone will be the yellowish or brown line at the base of your teeth that indicates tartar has accumulated below.
To learn more about periodontal treatment, or to schedule an appointment, contact Dental Health Associates of Whitehouse today.