Gum Disease Therapy
Brushing and flossing every day are essential habits for keeping your teeth and gums healthy. So are regular professional cleanings and exams. When you neglect your oral hygiene routine, even only occasionally, your risk for developing gum disease increases significantly. If you do develop gum disease, Lake Sammamish Family Dentistry can help with gum disease therapy.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a condition that occurs when plaque and bacteria build up on your teeth begin to irritate the soft tissue. When this happens, the tissue becomes inflamed. Redness and swelling, along with bleeding when you brush and floss, are the earliest warning signs of gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. All too often, this stage goes unnoticed or ignored, leaving it to progress. As gum disease starts to advance, your swollen gum tissue begins to pull away from your teeth. This creates space, enabling bacteria to fall below the gum line. Once there, the bacteria begin attacking your periodontal ligaments and your jawbone. The longer you go without treatment, the worse the condition becomes. Your gums recede, and your jawbone weakens. Eventually, your teeth become loose in their sockets and are at very high risk of falling out.
Treating Gum Disease With Gum Disease Therapy
Gingivitis is the only stage of gum disease that can be reversed with improved oral hygiene. Once the condition has progressed beyond this stage, professional treatment is required. At this point, plaque, the sticky film that accumulates on your teeth, has begun hardening into tartar, also called calculus. This substance cannot be removed with brushing and flossing. It is also impossible to remove plaque, bacteria, and other debris from below the gum line. Fortunately, we can help. Gum disease therapy is a minimally invasive, non-surgical treatment that uses scaling and root planing to remove buildup from your teeth to help your gums begin to heal. This treatment is a deep cleaning for your teeth, designed to remove buildup from all surfaces both above and below the gumline. The treatment starts with scaling.
Scaling is the thorough cleaning of the visible surfaces of your teeth, including around and just under, the gums. We use a special tool called a scaler to scrape the surfaces of your teeth, effectively removing all buildup, including tartar. After the visible surfaces have been cleaned, we then use specialized tools to clean along the root surfaces of your teeth, removing plaque, bacteria, and other toxins that have accumulated there. This process smooths the surfaces of your tooth roots, making it much more difficult for new bacteria to adhere. Finally, an antimicrobial rinse is delivered below the gums to help remove anything that might still be hanging around. You are then scheduled for a follow up 6 to 8 weeks later.
Additional Care With Periodontal Maintenance
In many cases, a single treatment is all that is needed to help stop the progression of gum disease, and your oral health begins to show improvement by your follow up appointment. However, there are also many cases in which one treatment is not enough. Your gums may not show sufficient progress, or your condition may continue to worsen. In these cases, you may be recommended for periodontal maintenance. Periodontal maintenance is a treatment plan that involves a series of regularly scheduled visits. At each appointment, we assess buildup, check your gums, and take x-rays. We then clean your teeth of any buildup that may have accumulated. Depending on your needs, the frequency of your appointments depends, typically ranging from every 2 to 6 months. If your mouth is affected by gum disease, treatment is needed right away. For more information on gum disease therapy and to schedule your consultation, call Lake Sammamish Family Dentistry today at (425) 392-3900.