Gum disease, also known as Gingivitis is very common in adults and is the leading cause of tooth loss. Gum disease is caused when plaque and tarter build up along the gum line, irritating the gums. Common systems of gum disease are: Bleeding gums when brushing Bright red or a red-purple color to gums Mouth sores Swollen gums Bad breath With routine cleanings and a quality at-home oral hygiene routine it is possible to prevent gum disease. The effects of gum disease are also quite easy to reverse when caught early and proper treatment is received. Our hygienists provide gentle, thorough cleanings that remove the plague build-up that normal brushing misses. They also use the Cavitron Ultrasonic Cleaner, which comfortably removes tarter build-up above and below the gum line. The hygienists also offer oral hygiene education and instruction on how to get the maximum benefit from brushing and flossing. Recent studies have shown an association between gum disease and increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, low birth weight and diabetes. Because gum disease can have an adverse effect to your over-all health we strongly suggest getting professional cleanings at least every six months. What Are the Warning Signs of Gum Disease? Signs include red, swollen or tender gums, bleeding while brushing or flossing, gums that pull away from teeth, loose or separating teeth, pus between the gum and tooth, persistent bad breath, a change in the way teeth fit together when the patient bites, bad taste and mouth sores. While patients are advised to check for the warning signs, there might not be any discomfort until the disease has spread to a point where teeth are unsalvageable. What Does Periodontal Treatment Involve? Periodontal treatment methods depend upon the type and severity of the disease. Dr. Lambert will evaluate for periodontal disease and recommend the appropriate treatment. If the disease is caught in the early stages of gingivitis, and no damage has been done, one to two phased cleanings will be recommended. You will also be given instructions on improving your daily oral hygiene habits and having regular dental cleanings. If the disease has progressed to more advanced stages, a special periodontal cleaning called scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) will be recommended. It is usually done one quadrant of the month at a time while the area is numb. In this procedure, tartar, plaque, and toxins are removed from above and below the gum line (scaling) and rough build-ups on root surfaces are made smooth (planing). This procedure helps gum tissue to heal and pockets to shrink. Medications, special medicated mouth rinses, and an electric tooth brush may be recommended to help control infection and healing. How Can I Maintain Healthy Gums? Sticking to a regular oral hygiene regimen is crucial for patients who want to sustain the results of periodontal therapy. It only takes twenty four hours for plaque that is not removed from your teeth to turn into calculus (tartar)! Daily home cleaning helps control plaque and tartar formation, but those hard to reach areas will always need special attention. Once your periodontal treatment has been complete, your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend that you have regular maintenance cleanings (periodontal cleanings), usually four times a year. Periodontal maintenance is more complex than a normal cleaning. Patients who have had gingivitis or periodontal disease need a deeper cleaning because they have gum pockets between the teeth and gums deeper than those found with healthy gums. At these cleaning appointments, the pocket depths will be carefully checked to ensure that they are healthy. Plaque and calculus that is difficult for you to remove on a daily basis will be removed from above and below the gum line. Periodontal disease will progress without continued maintenance. Once periodontal disease is diagnosed and treated, it must be carefully monitored and controlled as it can never be totally eliminated only kept under control with ongoing maintenance.