Why should you have healthy gums?
In the past, periodontal disease was not regarded as a significant element of overall health unless it started to destroy the supporting bone around the teeth. Recent evidence has shown that toxins and inflammatory mediators that are released by the gum cells in response to bacteria can get into the bloodstream daily. Many chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis can result from these toxins and inflammation in the body. Eliminating gum inflammation can reduce your risk for these diseases. Unfortunately, it is not always apparent when gum disease is present, as there are usually no major symptoms in the early stages of the disease. The thinking that "Well if it doesn't hurt, let's just keep an eye on it" is no longer acceptable. A more comprehensive and proactive approach has become the standard of care and at the Kenner Dental Group, we take this very seriously.
What is Periodontal Therapy?
Periodontal Therapy is a multi-step process to accurately and effectively treat bacterial infection and inflammation of the gum tissues. This process includes Diagnosis, Treatment, and Maintenance.
Diagnosis of Periodontal disease is done by the dentist using information gathered from a comprehensive examination. Often times the hygienist will gather the needed information by measuring the pockets around the teeth that result from bone loss and inflamed gum tissues, furcation exposures, tooth mobility, and overall amount of plaque and calculus that has accumulated on teeth. Once all of this information is gathered, the dentist determines the level of periodontal disease, contributing factors, appropriate treatment, and anticipated maintenance.
Periodontal treatment methods depend upon the type and severity of the disease. Treatments can be a routine cleaning, often completed every 6 months during a 1 hour appointment. For more advanced disease, the first step usually involves a specific cleaning treatment called Scaling and Root Planing (SRP). This is the process of removing debris from the pockets around the tooth, below the gum line. This treatment may be done over a couple visits due to the length of treatment time and as anesthetic is typically used for maximum patient comfort.
If you have gum disease, you may already have had a specific cleaning, or Scaling and Root Planing (SRP). You also may have had periodontal surgery. The regular cleanings recommended after those treatments are called Periodontal Maintenance Therapy, which involves a more in-depth cleaning than the common 6 month cleaning. Patients with a history of periodontal disease need a deeper cleaning because they have established pockets between the teeth and gums that trap plaque and calculus. Periodontal Maintenance ensures your gums stay healthy beyond the initial SRP treatment.
If you notice swollen, puffy gums, loose teeth, bad breath, and discolored build-up on your teeth, contact us to schedule an exam with Dr. Kenner and a member of the hygiene team. If you have any other questions regarding periodontal disease, gum health, or any of the treatments available for managing your periodontal condition, please feel free to contact us and one of our friendly team members will be glad to assist you.