Good oral hygiene and general dentistry will give your teeth the best chance of doing their job and lasting a lifetime. Regular dental checkups and professional cleanings by the hygienist are the best way of preventing dental disease. Keeping the supporting structures of your teeth in good shape is important; even more so as people age. Your gums are integral to your overall health.
Periodontal therapy is required when the gums become infected. It begins when plaque, a clear sticky substance adheres to the teeth. When this plaque is not removed, it hardens into tartar or calculus. The hardened substance begins to grow on the teeth and as it builds up it pushes the gums away from the teeth. Food debris as well as more plaque gets caught in the pockets and the cycle continues. The body’s immune system kicks in to fight off infection, however, toxins build up causing the bone around the teeth to weaken and dissolve.
When gums get puffy and red it is an indication that gum disease is present. Untreated gum disease can lead to serious health issues including heart problems, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and pregnancy issues. The different stages of gum disease or periodontal disease require corresponding treatments. The earliest stages can usually be handled by deep cleaning of the teeth, use of special toothpaste and mouthwash, and monitoring until healing is complete. More extensive periodontal disease requires more extreme measures.
The exact treatment needed for your level of periodontitis will be determined by the hygienist and dentist. Some measures are simple and require minimal intervention while others may require surgical procedures to restore oral health. Your dentist will explain to you the extent of your gum disease and the best plan for treating it.