- Do your gums bleed when you brush, floss or use a toothpick?
- Are your gums red, swollen and painful?
- Do you have pus coming from between your gums and teeth if you push on your gums?
- Are your gums pulling away from your teeth?
- Has there been a change in the way your teeth come together when you bite or chew on food?
- Do your teeth look longer because of receding gums?
- Are your teeth loose?
- Do you have bad breath?
- If you wear a partial denture, does it still fit the same?
A thorough evaluation of your gums and your overall dental health includes a comprehensive examination, a complete set of x-rays, and periodontal probing.If there is bone loss and deep pocketing you may need non-surgical periodontal or surgical periodontal care.
Maintaining good oral health is the key to keeping your teeth for a lifetime. This includes regular visits to the dental office for cleanings, x-rays and check ups. Cleaning (Scaling & polishing) as detailed below, can be as infrequent as every six months, or as often as every three or four months, depending upon the health of your gums, and how quickly you develop tartar and stains on your teeth. Remember that 75% of all adults have periodontal disease.
Home brushing and flossing are the building blocks to a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Flossing removes food that might remain between your teeth after you brush. If the food is not removed it can start decay, and if the food gets trapped in your gum it can cause gingivitis, or make your existing gum disease worse. You should brush 2-3 times a day, preferably after every meal and before you go to sleep.
SCALING & ROOT PLANING (NON SURGICAL TREATMENT)
Scaling and Root Planing is usually the first dental treatment a patient receives for periodontal disease. Scaling and root planing attempts to remove all of the unwanted irritants under a patient's gums in an attempt to eliminate inflammation and infection.
Half or quarter of the patient's mouth is numbed, if required so that the dentist can comfortably remove any hardened food ( calculus ) from below the patient's gums. This is called scaling and it's like removing the scales from a fish. In addition to hand scaling, we use ultrasonic vibrating tools to blast unwanted hardened deposits off of the patient's teeth during this phase of scaling and root planing. Scaling leaves a rough tooth surface so planing is needed next.
A carpenter planes wood so that it's smooth. Essentially we perform the same procedure on a surgical level on the surface of the teeth. This allows the gums to regenerate without irritation. The gum tissue normally shrinks and becomes tight around the teeth after this scaling and root planing because there is no longer anything there to irritate the gums. Scaling and root planing can also reduce or eliminate the bleeding gums.
After scaling and root planing is completed the gum tissue is allowed to heal and the results are later documented by charting the patient's pocket depth. Our aim is to achieve a 1 to 3 millimeter thickness of gum tissue after scaling and root planing.
After scaling and root planing
In some patients, scaling and root planing is the most aggressive treatment needed to control their periodontal disease. This is because scaling and root planing can often eliminate the inflammation and infection that promotes the tissue destruction around teeth with periodontal disease. Because scaling and root planing is a non-surgical treatment, patients often feel comfortable with it, however, scaling and root planing is most effective is treating early periodontal disease.
Unfortunately, scaling and root planing is not a cure. Many patients have scaling and root planing done every two years to continually remove irritants that accumulate over this period.
Non surgical periodontal treatment is appropriate in the early and moderate stages of periodontal disease, otherwise known as Periodontitis.
If there is a great deal of bone loss, a situation known as moderate to advanced periodontitis, then surgical periodontal treatment is required.
All patients that undergo periodontal treatment-whether it be non-surgical or surgical periodontal treatment need to have their teeth cleaned and their gums checked on a regular basis. This will be as often as every three to four months. It is vitally important to do this to prevent further periodontal problems.
Periodontal disease is a chronic problem, without ongoing treatment the infection and disease will recur, and each time it does, more bone can be lost, until eventually the teeth become loose and need to be removed.The goal of non-surgical periodontal treatment is to bring the gums back to good health by shrinking or eliminating the pockets around the teeth that are the site of infection, without having to have gum surgery.