Hart Dental

Healthy Smiles for Families


Gum Health

Posted by Hart Dental of Utah on February 20, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Gum Health


The most common worry I hear when people sit back in mychair is usually centered around being terrified of cavities. What most peopledon't realize is that gum diseaseaffects around 80% of Americans to some degree. We know cavities are notgood, just as a hole in the wall of your home is not good. But following thehome analogy, periodontal disease would be similar to having your home on asink hole. Over time, if left to its own destruction, your home would becomecondemned.


What is Periodontal Disease?

  • Periodontal disease is an infection that affectsthe tissues and bone that support your teeth. In latin, "peri" means "around", and"dontal" means "teeth". As plaque and bacteria growaround your teeth, your gums try to defend the invaders.
  • The defense is sent through your blood via whiteblood cells. Your white blood cells are what actively fight infection. This is one of the reasons why your gumsbleed when infected.
  • Periodontaldisease refers to any degree of gum infection. The degrees of periodontaldisease are broken into gingivitis and periodontitis.


Gingivitis Vs. Periodontitis

  • Gingivitisis the beginning stage of periodontal disease. During this process, yourgums begin to swell and bleed.
  • Overtime, the plaque and bacteria work their way farther down the roots of yourteeth.  As the bacteria continue its waydown your root, it becomes stronger, thus more difficult to get rid of, as wellas gaining the ability to do even more damage.
  • Bacteria eat sugar, then put out acid as a wasteproduct. The acid then destroys theligaments and bone that support your teeth. Once you have begun to losebone, you are now classified as having more than gingivitis. You now have periodontitis.


How Do I Prevent Periodontal Disease?

You can prevent periodontal disease by following threeimportant steps:

  • Brushyour teeth twice a day, and for twominutes each time. Make sure that as you brush, you angle your tooth brushup towards your gums at 45 degree angle and move your brush in circular motions.Do not brush too hard or "scrub", as this can do more damage thangood.  Brush softly with a soft brush;just make sure it is for the full 2 minutes each time. If your gums bleed, thatmeans you have at least gingivitis in that area.  If you brush and floss diligently for three                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              weeks,and you are still getting some bleeding, get a check up at the dentist. You mayhave periodontitis and might need a deeper cleaning.
  • Floss,floss, floss! This is everyone's favorite step to skip. If you tend to skipthis step, figure out why you are skipping it, and fix the problem. If you needsuggestions, come in and ask me, I will be happy to give you some ideas.
  • Come infor your periodontal maintenance cleanings as frequently as we recommend.Generally, if you have no history of periodontitis, we will see you every 6months. If you have had a history of periodontitis, then usually you need tocome in every 3 months until it is resolved. Every case is different, so whenyou come in, just ask.


I Have Periodontitis, Now What?

  • Every case is different, however, generally youneed an initial deep cleaning done called "periodontaldebridement" or "scaling and root planing". Both names referto the same treatment.  At thisappointment, depending on severity, I will numb your affected area, and thenclean deep under the gums with my instruments to remove any bacteria formedthere. I then will administer an antibacterial prescription mouth rinse calledChlorhexidine deep under your gums to help kill the bacteria. At the completionof this deep cleaning, we often will prescribe the same rinse for use at home.
  •  We will schedule you to come back in 3 months tohave a maintenance cleaning called "periodontalmaintenance". This cleaning is a combination between your typicalcleaning and the initial deep cleaning. This type of cleaning you may be on forat least a year or more.
  • Once someone has had periodontitis, they have a higher likelihood of getting it again,therefore, we are going to always do our best to see that you are thoroughlyexamined for it and immediately treated if needed.


Categories: Dental Health

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