When it comes to dental health, creating and maintaining ideal oral hygiene should be any patient’s first priority in taking care of their teeth, mouth, and gums. This is probably the point that our dentists stress the most too, even more so than that ever-present, “Don’t forget your next checkup!” reminder that we hear.
And the message on consistent oral hygiene is repeated for a good reason too. When we don’t take good care of our teeth on a regular basis, this can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. The first stage of such disease is called gingivitis. The Mayo Clinic defines gingivitis as:
“Gingivitis is a common and mild form of gum disease (periodontal disease) that causes irritation, redness and swelling (inflammation) of your gingiva, the part of your gum around the base of your teeth. It’s important to take gingivitis seriously and treat it promptly. Gingivitis can lead to much more serious gum disease called periodontitis and tooth loss.”
The second stage of gingivitis, the one we’ll be focusing on in this article, is called periodontitis. The Mayo Clinic defines periodontitis as:
“Periodontitis is a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue and destroys the bone that supports your teeth. Periodontitis can cause teeth to loosen or lead to tooth loss. Periodontitis is common but largely preventable. It’s usually the result of poor oral hygiene.”
We might think something along the lines of, “I take okay care of my teeth, periodontitis will never happen to me,” but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that close to half of all American adults over the age of thirty suffer from some stage of periodontitis. Ouch. That’s an unpleasant statistic, to say the least.
Treating Periodontitis – It’s Not the End of the Line for Your or Your Family’s Teeth
The adverse effects of periodontitis manifest in the form of tooth decay, tooth loss, pain in the teeth, gums, jaw, etc. But not only can periodontitis usually be prevented with regular oral hygiene but even if one does get periodontitis, there are dental practices that can remedy this so as to prevent tooth loss and further decay.
If periodontitis is found soon enough, your dentist should be able to address this and prevent further advancement of the condition. This is one of those reasons why dentists always recommend frequent checkups and cleanings, so they can spot conditions like this before they get out of hand.
But should the need arise to perform periodontal treatments, here’s how these would occur:
- The first approach your dentist would go for would be the least invasive, which would involve tooth scaling and root planing. Tooth scaling uses the “scaler” instrument that we all know too well from dental cleanings, that metallic, hook-like instrument used to scrape tartar and plaque off our teeth. First, this is used, and then a root planing device is used to smooth the surface of the tooth to prevent bacteria from reattaching.
- If the first approach is not sufficient, the next level of care would be a pocket reduction. Pocket reduction involves folding back the gum tissue around the teeth, removing infectious bacteria from where the teeth meet the gum, and allowing the gums to then reattach to clean, smooth, bacteria-free teeth.
- Another approach is to use gum grafts if gum recession has occurred and tooth roots are now exposed. In this case, gum tissue will be taken from the patient’s palate or another source, and it will be grafted onto the exposed tooth roots, thereby protecting the teeth and preventing the advancement of periodontitis.
These are the primary methods of addressing periodontitis. Your dentist will always opt for the least invasive methods first, only using invasive procedures where necessary.
McMurphy Family Dentistry – Experts in Periodontal Treatment
Periodontal treatments can seem daunting, but at McMurphy Family Dentistry, we are proud to have the knowledgeable staff to make your visits superb in quality of care and service. We are also proud to have expert facilities right here in Biloxi, Mississippi to make your dental experience a brief one, with a feeling of pleasantness, calm, and comfort throughout.
At McMurphy Family Dentistry, we proudly specialize in a wide variety of dental practices for both adults and children. We want the whole family smiling with healthy teeth and gums all around! Call today to schedule an appointment, (228)-207-1548. Our business hours are Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m, to 5:00 p.m. and our office can be easily accessed at 2318 Pass Rd #9, in Biloxi, Mississippi, zip code 39531.