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How Is Gum Disease Treated by a General Dentist?
Gum disease, also commonly referred to as periodontal disease, is an inflammation of the gums. It is caused by plaque, which is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that often forms on teeth. Gum disease usually causes tooth loss. It is often painless so you may not even know you have it. Fortunately, gum disease can usually be treated successfully by a dentist.
Gum disease treatment
The symptoms of gum disease include gums that bleed easily, red and swollen gums, persistent bad breath, and pus between the gums and teeth. Other common symptoms are gums that have pulled away from the teeth or teeth that are moving away from one another or loose. A professional cleaning can help if gum disease is caught early. This is when it has not damaged the structures below the gumline. Scaling and root planing may be recommended if the pockets between the teeth and gums are very deep.
Professional dental cleaning
During a regular checkup, the dentist or hygienist will remove the plaque and tartar from above and below the gumline. Professional dental cleaning may be recommended more than twice a year if a patient has some signs of gum disease. But it is important to note that dental cleanings are not ideal for active gum disease. But they are a beneficial preventive measure.
Scaling and root planing
Scaling and root planing can be done at the office of the dentist as an outpatient procedure. A patient may need one or more appointments depending on the severity of the condition. The dentist may use a local anesthetic to minimize the discomfort. This deep cleaning has two important parts.
The procedure involves scaling all plaque and tartar deposits from the teeth and root surfaces. The dental provider will make sure to clean thoroughly all the way to the bottom of the pocket. Root planing will help to smoothen all the rough areas on the surfaces of the roots. This will allow the gums to heal and reattach themselves more firmly on the teeth. To help control infection and pain or aid in healing, the dentist may recommend medications. These could include a pill, mouth rinse, or a substance that will be placed directly in the pocket that was cleaned.
At the next appointment, the dentist will check how the gums have healed. The provider will also measure the depth of the pockets. If the pockets are deep and the supporting bone is lost, surgery may be recommended. It may help prevent tooth loss. In this case, a patient may be referred to a periodontist.
Scaling and root planing is an effective treatment option for gum disease. Surgery is usually deemed necessary when pockets do not heal after scaling and root planing. But you do not have to lose teeth due to periodontal diseases. You should brush your teeth twice every day and clean between your teeth daily. Eating a balanced diet, avoiding using tobacco, and seeing the dentist regularly will also help.
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