Have you been to the dentist lately and been told that you have gum or
periodontal disease? Did they tell you that they would like to see you
more often? Don’t stress, you’re not alone. More than 80 percent
of the United States adult population has some form of gum disease, which
is a bacterial infection of the gums. Gum disease may not seem like a
big deal, but when left untreated can lead to tooth loss.
The biggest cause of gum disease is the buildup of plaque, but some of
the other causes are things such as poor homecare, genetics, smoking,
stress, clinching or grinding, hormones, medications, and diabetes. There
are signs of gum disease; it can start as halitosis, or bad breath, with
other signs such as irritated or bleeding gums, pain when chewing, and/or
separation of gums from the teeth. There are several stages of periodontal
disease: it begins with gingivitis and is followed by early, moderate,
and advanced stages of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease cannot
be cured and will never go away on its own, but it can be improved and
Your dentist or hygienist may recommend a deeper cleaning such as scaling
and root planning, or gum therapy. This type of cleaning includes the
removal of plaque, calculus and staining from the crown and root surfaces
of teeth, and can only be performed by a trained dental professional.
Your hygienist might decide to use a laser to help in the gum therapy
process. For more information and a list of benefits of using a laser,
check this out:
After you have had gum therapy, your hygienist will want to see you in
four to six weeks for a follow up to check on the improvement of you gum
health. Another thing that may be recommended is an oral antibiotic or
the placement of an antibiotic below the gums to help heal the infection.
The hygienist might also ask you to come more frequently, whether it’s
in three, four, five, or six month intervals. This is also to monitor
your gum infection and to help you stay on track with your homecare.
The days of thinking that you only need to see your dentist every six months
was created by a toothpaste company, not by dental professionals. Periodontal
disease is a serious thing among many Americans, so don’t ignore
the signs; work on getting your gums healthy. Please don’t think
that your dentist is just trying to get more money out of you because
they’re not; they want to help you, but only if you want to be helped.