Gum Disease, the silent killer
Periodontal disease, or gum disease as it is more commonly called, is one of the most prevalent diseases. Factors don’t include race, ethnicity or gender—we’re all at risk. Why do we get this disease? And what are some ways to treat it?
Why Do We Get Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a preventable disease. However, there some risk factors that make it more difficult to avoid. According to the Mayo Clinic, these include:
- Heart disease
- A family history of gum disease
- Tobacco use
- Autoimmune diseases, leukemia, chemotherapy, and HIV/AIDS
- Pregnancy, menopause or other hormonal changes
- Malocclusion (your teeth don’t fit together properly).
Knowing you have a propensity for this disease is not a death sentence for your gums. Rather, it should give you impetus to be diligent with preventative measures. People who don’t take these measures will most likely end up with periodontal disease.
The disease starts off as inflammation called gingivitis. This stage is completely reversible. Spending some extra time with a tooth brush and floss should take care of the problem within 10-14 days.
Without regular home care or dental cleanings gingivitis will eventually progress to periodontal disease. While gingivitis is reversible, periodontal disease is not. However, it can be arrested.
Gum disease will result in bad breath; painful, bleeding gums; and loose teeth.
5 Gum Disease Treatments in Racine, WI
You don’t have to suffer the ill effects of periodontal disease! There are gum disease treatments for every stage of the disease.
1. Brushing and Flossing
Brushing and flossing are the first steps toward good dental health. They’re also the cheapest. Brush after every meal or, at the very least, twice a day. Floss once each day.
2. In-Office Cleanings
The amount of dental cleanings you receive from your Racine, WI dentist or hygienist depends on your specific needs. Some people do great with 2 annual cleanings, others need 4 each year. Your dentist will do a complete periodontal screening before recommending a cleaning schedule.
3. Scaling and Root Planing
Once periodontal disease has begun, scaling and root planing is often needed. This is a deep cleaning with local anesthesia. The hygienist makes sure all of the plaque and tartar have been removed around the teeth and under the gum line. Follow up cleanings are usually scheduled for every 3-4 months to keep the disease from gaining momentum again.
4. Antibiotic Treatments
During cleanings, sometimes a topical antibiotic is placed into the gum pockets surrounding each tooth. This helps combat localized disease.
Sometimes patients will need to have antibiotic medication prescribed to them. A dentist or periodontist (gum specialist) can perform bacterial testing to see which type of bacterium is affecting the patient and prescribe an antibiotic that specifically targets those bacteria.
5. Periodontal Surgeries
If the pockets around the teeth get so deep that they are impossible to keep clean, surgery may be indicated. The surgeon will remove some gum tissue, in essence shrinking the pocket. The patient will then be able to keep their teeth, gums and root surfaces clean and prevent further damage.
Your Racine, WI Dentist—an Ally in Gum Disease Prevention
When it comes to periodontal disease, the best course of action is prevention. Increase your efforts at home and regularly see a Racine, WI dentist, like Dr. Westman. Don’t wait until you have pain, swelling or bleeding gums before you visit the dentist. Call us today to schedule an appointment and enjoy healthy, pink, disease-free gums.