Periodontal Maintenance in Medford, OR
Gum disease can sneak up on you. In its earliest stages, you might not even know you have it. While, usually, early symptoms include redness and swelling, these can occur without pain, so unless you stare at your gums, you probably won’t notice. Bleeding gums while brushing and flossing is another common sign, but you may write this off as scrubbing your teeth too hard. Untreated, gum disease only gets worse, eventually turning into periodontitis, and then you’re facing a significant number of problems.
What is Periodontitis?
Gum disease starts as gingivitis, which only affects your gums, causing them to become irritated and inflamed. While some notice pain, others might not notice anything at all. By the time you have noticed something is wrong, gum disease has usually progressed to a much worse state.
Peridontitis is the advanced stage of gum disease. By this time, your gums, teeth and jawbone are at risk. Plaque has built up and turned to tartar, pushing on your gums causing the inflammation and irritation. Bacteria has now gotten under the gum line, triggering deterioration of the tissue. Even your jawbone can begin to degrade due to your body’s inflammatory response. With both tissue and bone being destroyed, your teeth can become loosened, and are at risk of falling out.
The rest of your body may also be at risk as periodontitis gets worse. Bacteria under the gums can cause severe infections on the roots of your teeth. From there, these infections can enter the blood stream and travel throughout the body, leading to heart disease and even problems in the brain.
Symptoms of periodontitis include:
- Red, swollen gums.
- Bad breath, and possibly a foul taste in the mouth that won’t go away.
- Loose, sensitive or even painful teeth.
- Receding gums.
While gingivitis is easily reversed with a thorough dental cleaning and normal oral cleanings at home, periodontitis is more difficult to deal with. Periodontitis requires specialized professional help by means of periodontal maintenance.
What is Periodontal Maintenance?
Periodontal maintenance is scheduled exams with extensive cleanings of your teeth, different from your standard dental cleanings. On average, the appointments occur every three months, but your dentist will determine how often you need maintenance based on the extent of damage to your teeth and gums.
The exam, including the cleaning of your teeth, is quite thorough. It includes:
- Measuring the pockets in your gums, where bacteria are prone to hide and multiply.
- X-rays to look under your gums and at your jawbone.
- An assessment of your gums, teeth and jaw.
- Scaling and root planing to get rid of buildup on your teeth, both above and below the gum line.
- A discussion of what you can do at home to help the healing process. During your appointment, you will also have an opportunity to ask questions and address any concerns you may have about your oral health.
The Cleaning Process
The cleaning of your teeth includes scaling and root planing. Scaling is the cleaning of the surface of the teeth, both above and just below the gum line. This process uses a special tool to clean plaque and tartar, hardened plaque that cannot be removed by a regular toothbrush no matter how hard you scrub. An irrigation tool also allows an antimicrobial agent, which helps to combat bacteria, to be delivered under the gums.
Root planing is the cleaning of the roots of your teeth. The surface is rid of plaque, toxins and bacteria, smoothing it. This cleaning makes it harder for new bacteria to cling and collect, helping to prevent infections that could otherwise enter the blood stream.
Benefits of Periodontal Maintenance
The benefits of periodontal maintenance are tremendous, including:
- Slowing down and even reversing gum disease. This can only happen, though, if you attend your recommended appointments. Skipping appointments or going less than recommended will only cause gum disease to worsen.
- Plaque and tartar removal. Getting rid of both helps to relieve the pressure on your gums, greatly reducing gum inflammation.
- Cleaning out stuck food particles that may have fallen below the gum line, providing food for bacteria to thrive.
- Reducing and eliminating infections.
- Tooth protection. Bacteria can eat away at teeth, causing decay and receding gums can cause teeth to become loose. Periodontal maintenance gets rid of this bacteria, helping to save your teeth from a terrible fate.
- Fresher breath. Food particles below the gum line that rot and any infections can cause bad breath that just won’t go away. Clearing these things out results in a much more noticeably clean breath. A boost of confidence. With clean teeth and a fresh breath, you are more likely to feel more confident and will be much more willing to show off your smile.
Periodontitis is a devastating disease that can wreak havoc on your whole body, but it can be treated. With years of experience, Doctor Bruce Jay can provide you with the maintenance you need while treating you with care and respect. If you are suffering from the advanced stages of gum disease, call Siskiyou Smiles to schedule an appointment today!