What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an infection of the gums and bone that support the teeth. It usually starts early in life and progresses as you age. It all starts when plaque hardens into tartar (also called calculus) below the gum line. This irritates vulnerable soft tissues and infection can set in. Combined with decaying food particles lodged between the teeth and bacteria emitted by the tartar, the infection can spread quickly. Symptoms are so mild in the early phase that many patients don't recognize them. They usually include red or tender gums that bleed easily when brushing or flossing.
As the condition progresses, the gums recede and pockets of bacteria form. It can actually cause tooth and bone loss.
How Gum Disease Can Also Affect Other Areas
It's possible that a mouth filled with gum disease bacteria and its toxins allows a continuous stream of poisons to enter the body. If the bacteria reaches your arteries, it may cause the same kind of irritation present in your gums and mouth. Arterial wall irritations typically result in a buildup of protective plaque, which in turn can harden and block blood flow. Without sufficient blood flow, your heart can easily have a myocardial infarction, also known as a heart attack. Loosened arterial plaque can also travel to the brain and cause a stroke.
Maintaining Good Periodontal Health
Regular dental visits at least every six months allow us to keep a watchful eye on the health of your gums. You should also brush twice a day and floss at least once. We will recommend the oral hygiene products that will optimize your homecare, and we’ll also show you the best methods for brushing and flossing. Frequent checkups and cleanings are especially important if you have been treated for periodontal disease in the past.
Scaling & Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is largely considered the gold standard in gum disease treatment. Scaling is the process of physically removing dental plaque from the teeth above and below the gum line. Root planing involves smoothing out the roots of the teeth in order to remove adhered harmful bacteria and to promote their reattachment to the gums. This encourages proper healing and lowers the risk of reinfection.
Along with scaling and root planing, antibiotic therapy is sometimes performed to accelerate the healing of gum tissue that has developed an infection. After we’ve administered the antibiotics, we’ll allow the effects to take place over the next three or four months. Then, you’ll come back to our dental office for retreatment and a closer examination of your gum tissue. This way, we can confirm that the therapy is working and complete your scaling and root planing treatment.
Contact Us Today
Contact our Plano dental office today if you have any questions or you’d like to schedule an appointment. We welcome patients from all over the DFW area.