When you brush your teeth properly and floss daily, you are cleaning away your daily accumulation of plaque – the sticky coating formed on your teeth by bacteria. If plaque is left on your teeth, it gradually hardens into tartar that must be removed by the dental hygienist on your next visit.
When your teeth are free of accumulations of tartar and are scrubbed clean of daily deposits of plaque, your gums stay healthy. They fit snugly around each tooth and do not form periodontal pockets where bacteria can collect.
When Problems Arise
When teeth are not brushed thoroughly each day, are not flossed daily and regular dental cleanings are not happening, plaque accumulates, hardens into tartar and irritates the gums. The gums respond to this irritation by becoming red, puffy and likely to bleed when you brush or floss. This condition is called gingivitis. It is not usually difficult to bring gingivitis under control by catching up on your visits to the dentist and cleaning your teeth properly each day. When you visit our office, we will be happy to help you learn the right kind of at-home care to protect your teeth and gums.
What Happens if Gingivitis is Not Treated?
If gingivitis is not corrected, it is likely to progress to periodontitis which means that infections exist below the gum line. Pockets of bacteria have begun to form and the bone around the teeth will begin to break down. This bone loss can cause teeth to loosen or even be lost. At this point, more intensive treatment is needed to reverse the infection and restore gums to a more optimum condition.
Treatment for Periodontitis
We have effective treatments for periodontitis to bring your gums back into a healthy condition. Our deep cleaning procedure is called scaling and root planing. We first remove plaque and tartar deposits below the gum line, which enables gums to heal and shrinks periodontal pockets. Root planing consists of smoothing any rough spots on the roots of your teeth that could give bacteria a place to collect. Together with good at home care, this treatment can resolve periodontitis and return gums to healthy condition.
Arestin® for Localized Infections
When there is a specific area of infection that needs immediate improvement, we offer our patients Arestin treatment. This is a locally-applied antibiotic treatment that targets infection and lasts for months. Along with excellent at home care and the use of mouth rinses we can recommend, you can help your gums return to a healthy condition that supports the health of both your teeth and the bone in your jaw.
If you think your gums may need attention or if you are seeing any puffiness or blood when you brush your teeth, please call us immediately. The sooner we can correct any problems, the faster your full recovery will be. And remember that regular cleanings and examinations are key to preventing periodontal problems. If your dental care needs a bit of updating, let us help. Call our office to schedule an appointment today.