Dr. Lamothe is well known for providing high quality, advanced oral health care at Smyrna Dental in Smyrna, GA. Many patients come to us asking how to treat gum disease. The answer will vary, depending on the severity of the condition, and the person’s overall oral health. However, one bit of advice applies universally to everyone: if you have gum disease, seek treatment as soon as possible. Even better, if you have healthy gums, protect and preserve them.
Gum disease does not have a sudden onset. Instead, it develops very gradually. Yet, it still catches many people by surprise. That is because gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease, is virtually symptomless. The gum tissue becomes inflamed, but it is not painful. Slight puffiness, discoloration, or bleeding easily are typically the first signs, but they often go unnoticed.
Despite the deceptively mild symptoms, gum disease wreaks havoc with oral and overall health. It is an infection of the periodontal tissue, which first affects the gums and causes them to pull away from teeth, creating pockets. Bacteria and biofilm accumulation in the pockets allow the infection to spread deeper, impacting periodontal ligaments and bone. Eventually, severe gum disease can cause tooth loss. It has also been linked to a host of medical conditions such as stroke, heart attack, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
How can you protect yourself from a disease so insidiously destructive?
If you have deep pockets around your teeth, standard cleaning techniques are not sufficient to remove biofilm and bacteria. In this case, Dr. Lamothe will likely recommend scaling and root planing, which is a much deeper and more powerful cleaning protocol.
The Journal of Evidenced-Based Dental Practice calls scaling and root planning the gold standard of treatment for chronic periodontitis. According to a research review published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, 72 separate journal articles reported an average pocket depth reduction of one-half millimeter after complete scaling and root planing treatment.
It is a nonsurgical outpatient procedure. In most cases, only one appointment is needed. However, sometimes it will take two or more visits to thoroughly clean all affected teeth. We begin with preparation, which may include local anesthetic for your comfort. The procedure is performed in two parts:
In order to bring gum disease under control, we need to clear up the infection. Usually this can be accomplished by controlling plaque and tartar buildup, using methods described above. However, in some cases we also need the power of antibiotic medication. Depending on the situation, the doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics or apply a topical formula.
Are you past due for a dental checkup? Do you have signs of gum disease? For these or any other oral health concerns, give us a call at (678) 374-3764 and schedule an appointment today.