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Gum disease is a common condition that occurs when plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, builds up on the teeth and along the gumline. If plaque is not adequately removed through regular brushing and flossing, it can harden into tartar (also called calculus). This buildup leads to red, swollen, and painful gums. When you brush or floss, your gums may also bleed.
The sooner you address gum disease, the greater your chances of long-term dental health. Gum disease is reversible in its early stages (gingivitis). However, the later stages (periodontitis) cause gum and bone damage, resulting in gaps known as periodontal pockets surrounding your teeth. This condition can lead to increased inflammation, loose teeth, and even tooth loss.
Gum disease treatment is one of the most common dental procedures. In the United States, approximately half of individuals aged 30 and older have gum disease. About 9% of people in the United States require advanced gum disease therapy.
Dental prophylaxis involves a routine dental cleaning, a service commonly done twice a year with a dental hygienist. During this process, a dentist removes plaque and tartar from the surfaces of your teeth.
Gingivitis, the initial stage of gum disease, can typically be reversed with professional dental cleanings and improved oral care. Depending on your circumstances, you may require more frequent cleanings with your dentist to keep harmful germs at bay.
Scaling and root planing constitute a comprehensive dental cleaning designed to eliminate plaque and tartar from the root surfaces of your teeth. In addition to meticulous cleaning, your periodontist or dental hygienist may smooth out any rough areas on your tooth roots, further aiding in the prevention of germs and plaque buildup. A local anesthetic will be used to numb your gums to ensure your comfort during this procedure.
During this procedure, your dentist will use a small laser to remove damaged tissue and eliminate germs under your gums. Laser treatment may be recommended as an alternative to conventional gum surgery in certain circumstances. Unlike traditional gum surgery, laser treatment does not require incisions or stitches.
Surgical treatment may be necessary in advanced cases where non-surgical methods are ineffective. One common surgical approach is a flap or pocket reduction surgery, where the dentist lifts the gum tissue to access and remove tartar deposits deep below the gum line. This eliminates deep pockets between the teeth and gums where the bacteria thrive. Another procedure is bone grafting, which involves adding bone tissue to the jawbone. This is usually done when the jaw bone has suffered loss or deterioration due to advanced gum disease. In cases where gum recession is significant, a gum grafting procedure may be recommended. During this surgery, the dentist takes tissue from another part of the mouth to graft onto the areas with receding gums. This helps cover the exposed roots and improves the overall appearance of the gums.
Gum disease therapy plays a crucial role in the reduction of harmful germs in your mouth. However, without proper at-home dental hygiene practices, these germs may reappear, putting you back in the same position. To prevent this, it is essential to strictly adhere to your dentist's advice. Here are some general guidelines:
Are you experiencing red, swollen, or bleeding gums? Don't ignore the signs of gum disease! At Star Dental Institute, we offer comprehensive strategies for prevention and treatment to ensure your long-term dental health. Our team is dedicated to providing personalized care, ensuring you receive the right treatment at the right time. Don't let gum disease compromise your smile.
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