Gum disease is a problem, and though it’s a problem shared by many, it can still have devastating effects on your teeth if ignored. Infected gum tissue can be irritating at first but if the infection continues to rage, your gums can pull away from your teeth and retreat from the infection and your teeth. At Victor Nitu DDS, we want to stop the damage from occurring and help you have stronger, healthier gums. We can help.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an infection of the gum tissue. It comes from bacteria in your mouth. Generally, decay-causing bacteria finds its way into the plaque, or gummy white material that rests along the rims of your teeth. Plaque is a mix of saliva and food particles which often contains sugar. The decay-causing bacteria then feeds on the sugar in the plaque that is along the rim of your teeth. This bacteria-filled plaque can easily slip between the teeth and gums and become harder to remove. The bacteria continues to feed and produce an acid. This acid leads to an infection.
Gum disease is often distinguished by the stage it is in. The stages include:
||Gingivitis: Gingivitis is a term used for early gum disease. This is the most common step in gum disease and because it’s an early stage, no destruction is happening yet to the gums or bone. Most patients can relieve gingivitis with a good dental cleaning and then make more diligent choices in their home oral hygiene routine.
||Periodontitis: This is the term used for an elevated level of gum disease. The patient will have gum pockets that exceed 3mm in depth, meaning that some destruction has begun. At this stage we may recommend a deeper dental cleaning using the ultrasonic scaler followed by hand scaling and planing or smoothing of the roots. We will also want to review your brushing and flossing techniques and possibly recommend some changes.
||Chronic Periodontitis: This phase occurs when the patient has been unable to reduce the level of infection and the gum tissue has continued to rage with bacteria development. With chronic periodontitis the patient is having active damage occur to their gum tissue and bone. At this point, a treatment plan may include restoring gum tissue and taking action to add support to your teeth before the loss of teeth. Patients begin to lose permanent teeth from chronic periodontitis.
Scaling and Root Planing
One of the treatments we perform to eliminate gum disease is known as scaling and root planing. Scaling is a process of removing plaque, tartar, and calculus from your teeth and gums. Using a tool known as an ultrasonic scaler, we can safely remove this buildup without harming your enamel. The ultrasonic scaler uses a direct stream of oxygenated bubbles that blasts at your teeth while incorporating a vibrating tip to remove the harmful material.
After scaling with this powerful tool, we then take a hand scaling tool to double check the teeth for any remaining material. With the teeth clean, we then smooth the roots using a process known as planing. By smoothing the roots, we are both inducing a healing response from the roots while also making it more difficult for plaque to settle.
Scaling and root planing are a great start toward a return to gum health but it has to be followed with a good hygiene routine that is practiced daily at home. We are happy to review the correct steps with you and provide any information or tips that can help you be more successful. From rotary brushes, to variations on floss, there is so much available to help.