An Overview of Gum Disease

An Overview of Gum Disease

by Yenny (SU)

Regular professional dental cleanings by one of our dental hygienists includes removal of tartar and plaque from the teeth above the gumline. Tartar in particular can only be removed during a professional dental cleaning, as brushing and flossing alone can’t do the trick.

However, if you have gum disease, your teeth may need an even more advanced cleaning called Gum Therapy.

Effects of Gum Disease

Healthy gums fit snugly around the teeth, providing a barrier that keeps bacteria away from the roots. When gums develop gum disease, they can start to slightly pull away from the adjacent teeth and form pockets that allow bacteria to grow in the pockets. Over time, gum disease will cause bone loss, which will lead to loose teeth – and, eventually, lost teeth – if not treated early enough.

Check out this informative video that explains warning signs of gum disease:   

What Is Gum Therapy?

When you brush your teeth, you’re cleaning the visible outer surfaces. Gum Therapy gets rid of all plaque and tartar both above AND below the gumline, and it smooths out any uneven areas on the surfaces of the teeth. 

This kind of deep cleaning has been described as the gold standard of treatment for patients with gum disease. To get the gums healthy again, all calculus needs to be removed and the bacteria needs to be cleaned out by irrigating below the gumline with an antimicrobial rinse. Our office takes a small sample of the bacteria in the pockets and it is analyzed by a lab which determines the exact bacteria present. Dr. Marion then uses this lab report to prescribe the best antibiotic prescription to destroy the bacteria present. In cases of severe periodontitis, it may be recommended before gum surgery. 

Taking Care of Your Gums

Getting your gums healthy again is a process, and the dentist is your best resource. After your periodontal treatment, whether it’s surgical or Gum Therapy, we’ll want to pay close attention to your gums through regular maintenance visits. 

Every 3 to 4 months, you’ll come in for perio maintenance cleanings. These perio cleanings are longer in duration than a healthy mouth cleaning. During the perio maintenance cleanings, your hygienist will measure the pocket depth of your gums, clean below the gum line with instruments, and irrigate the pockets with antibacterial rinses. This is needed because flossing by patients cannot reach down into the perio pockets to remove the destructive bacteria. During these visits, Dr. Marion and his hygienists will determine if inserting medicine directly into the pockets will help the loose gums to reattach closer to the teeth. We have had amazing success with our gum therapy treatments and patients often achieve 1 – 3 millimeter reattachments and slow the progression of their gum disease.

Getting and Keeping a Healthy Smile

The best treatment for gum disease is prevention, whether you’ve had it before or not. A good oral hygiene routine is critical, so make sure you’re brushing the inside, outside, and chewing surfaces of your teeth twice a day, flossing daily (preferably at bedtime), replacing worn-out toothbrushes (every 3 months), and scheduling regular appointments with us. 

If you’re looking for a dentist who can help you maintain excellent gums and great oral health, contact us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Marion. Call us at (724) 452-4300 or fill out our appointment request form online. A healthy life starts with healthy gums and teeth!