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Routine dental cleanings and proper home care are just as important for your gums as they are for your teeth. Your gums are the foundation of your teeth; they hold them in place, support the roots, and even protect the underlying bone. According to the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), 50% of American adults currently have some form of gum disease. If your gums feel tender, look red and swollen, or bleed every time you floss, these could be signs of the early stage of gum disease. Untreated gum disease has been linked to other serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke, so it’s important to keep up with your routine dental checkups and cleanings. Learn more about Periodontics.

At BLUSH Dental Studio, we offer Periodontal (Gum) Therapy consisting of the following steps:


Diagnosis of Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Periodontal disease is diagnosed by your dentist during a periodontal exam. This periodontal exam is included in our comprehensive oral examination that you receive during routine visits.

During the periodontal exam, a periodontal probe (small dental instrument) is gently used to measure the sulcus (pocket or space) between the tooth and the gums. The depth of a healthy sulcus measures three millimeters or less and does not bleed. The periodontal probe helps indicate if pockets are deeper than three millimeters. As periodontal disease progresses, the pockets usually get deeper. Dr. Carter or our dental hygienist will use pocket depths, amount of bleeding, inflammation, tooth mobility, etc., to make a diagnosis that will fall into a category below:

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease. Plaque and its toxin by-products irritate the gums, making them tender, inflamed, and likely to bleed.

Periodontitis

Plaque hardens into calculus (tartar). As calculus and plaque continue to build up, the gums begin to recede from the teeth. Deeper pockets form between the gums and teeth and become filled with bacteria and pus. The gums become very irritated, inflamed, and bleed easily. Slight to moderate bone loss may be present.

Advanced Periodontitis

The teeth lose more support as the gums, bone, and periodontal ligament continue to be destroyed. Unless treated, the affected teeth will become very loose and may be lost. Generalized moderate to severe bone loss may be present.


Treatment of Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Periodontal treatment methods depend upon the type and severity of the disease. Dr. Carter or our dental hygienist will evaluate for periodontal disease and recommend the appropriate treatment.

Periodontal disease progresses as the sulcus (pocket or space) between the tooth and gums gets filled with bacteria, plaque, and tartar, causing irritation to the surrounding tissues. When these irritants remain in the pocket space, they can cause damage to the gums and eventually, the bone that supports the teeth!

If the disease is caught in the early stages of gingivitis, and no damage has been done, one to two regular cleanings will be recommended. You will also be given instructions on improving your daily oral hygiene habits and having regular dental cleanings.

If the disease has progressed to more advanced stages, a special periodontal cleaning called scaling and root planning (deep cleaning) will be recommended. It is usually done one quadrant of the mouth at a time while the area is numb. In this procedure, tartar, plaque, and toxins are removed from above and below the gum line (scaling) and rough spots on root surfaces are made smooth (planning). This procedure helps gum tissue to heal and pockets to shrink. Medications, special medicated mouth rinses, and an electric tooth brush may be recommended to help control infection and healing.

If the pockets do not heal after scaling and root planning, periodontal surgery may be needed to reduce pocket depths, making teeth easier to clean. Dr. Carter or our dental hygienist may also recommend that you see a Periodontist (specialist of the gums and supporting bone).


Maintenance of Periodontal (Gum) Disease

It only takes forty-eight hours for plaque that is not removed from your teeth to start to harden and turn into tartar! Daily home cleaning helps control plaque and tartar formation, but those hard to reach areas will always need special attention.

Once your periodontal treatment has been completed, Dr. Carter or our dental hygienist will recommend that you have regular maintenance cleanings (periodontal cleanings), usually four times a year. At these cleaning appointments, the pocket depths will be carefully checked to ensure that they are healthy. Plaque and tarter that is difficult for you to remove on a daily basis will be removed from above and below the gum line.

Good oral hygiene practices and periodontal cleanings are essential in maintaining dental health and keeping periodontal disease under control!

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