Periodontal (gum) disease is a leading threat to many patients’ oral health. This pervasive condition can destroy teeth, gums, and bone – especially if it goes undiagnosed and untreated. Gum disease often begins without noticeable symptoms and can advance quite quickly. Our team at Tate Family Dentistry takes all measures to prevent the development of advanced gum disease while also providing comprehensive treatment to improve oral health.

Gum Disease and Your Health

Advanced periodontal disease is aggressive and can literally destroy your oral health. In addition to its threats to your oral health, research has shown that this condition is linked to many other ailments including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer’s.

Like many other diseases, early detection is essential to stopping the progression of the condition and preserving oral health. This is why our dentists stress the importance of receiving regular checkups and cleanings. Our team also strongly encourages our patients to practice thorough oral hygiene at home.

The leading contributor to gum disease is the accumulation of tartar, which is calcified plaque. Tartar cannot be removed with home-care and when it accumulates, it builds up below the gum line and along the roots of teeth. Tartar and plaque are full of bacteria as well, which inflames and irritates the gums, leading to infection.

As tartar builds up and as the gums react to irritants, the gingival tissue will recede (pull away) from teeth. Gum recession breaks down the supportive bond between teeth and gums while also leaving the roots of teeth exposed to debris, bacteria, and tartar – all of which contribute to disease and tooth loss.

Periodontal Therapy

When dental cleanings and home care falls short, professional treatment is necessary to stop or slow down the advancement of gum disease. Special prophylaxis called scaling and root planing is usually administered to remove tartar buildup deep within the gums and along the roots of teeth.

Scaling and root planing (sometimes abbreviated as SRP) is a cleaning treatment specifically designed to address periodontal disease. This treatment involves accessing the innermost parts of the gums to clean them and remove infected or necrotized tissue. Tartar that has accumulated along the roots of teeth is removed and the roots of teeth are gently filed to produce a smooth surface that helps prevent the buildup of new tartar.

SRP is minimally invasive and depending on a patient’s unique needs, may be administered in increments over time. In some instances, our dentists may prescribe antibiotics and specialty mouth rinses to help improve gum health. More advanced cases of gum disease may require periodontal surgery.

For tips on how to prevent gum disease, or to reserve a checkup or cleaning, call Tate Family Dentistry today.