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 maintained.
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: http://www.westcountydental.com/Procedures_LaserDentistry_6001991/
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.