General and Preventative Dentistry
Most of the conditions that negatively affect your smile can be avoided with regular care. Your team at Walker and Kraus is committed to answering your questions about proper hygiene and to providing you with the most advanced preventive dentistry available today.
If you have been diagnosed with and treated for periodontal (gum) disease, regularly-scheduled supportive therapy is vitally important to your success in the management of disease progression. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, “Following a course of active periodontal treatment and periodic ongoing care, at regularly prescribed intervals, is essential. Because periodontal disease or infection can recur, continuous maintenance is absolutely necessary in order to prevent this periodontal infection from becoming active once again, destroying what healing has occurred. The following treatment is included in your periodontal maintenance appointment:
- Oral health evaluation to detect subtle signs of disease recurrence
- Appropriate debridement of teeth and gums (professional cleaning and polishing)
- Antimicrobial therapy, as deemed necessary by the doctor, to destroy difficult-to-reach bacteria.
- Evaluation of home-care regimens and aids
- Oral health evaluation, including oral cancer screening, necessary dental films, and decay detection
- Recommendations based on individual needs as a result of medical and dental history reviews.
Scientific studies support the belief of experts that the most important aspect of periodontal treatment is long-term maintenance therapy. Individuals vary in their response to periodontal disease, and their resistance to the disease varies at different times of life. When periodontal disease recurs following treatment, it may do so without signs or symptoms to the patient. Dr. Walker and Dr. Kraus, and their periodontal therapy team are well trained in recognizing the very subtle signs that may signal detrimental changes. Ask our doctors and your hygienist what interval of care would be in your best interest for lifelong oral health.
Root planing and scaling
This extensive cleaning treatment is provided by the hygienist for patients who have calculus, and bacteria below the gum line. Your regular tooth brushing and flossing removes the plaque from above the gum line of your tooth. Root planing and scaling helps to prevent and, in some cases, to treat gum disease. This technique is most often used when the gum pockets around your teeth have a measurement that is greater than 3mm (healthy pocket depth is less than 3mm). When calculus attaches to your tooth below the gum line, it creates gum inflammation and bone loss, creating the deep pocket. The calculus must be removed so that the gum can heal and shrink the pocket to less than 3mm. If not treated, the calculus and bacteria will continue to cause gum disease, deteriorating your bone and tissue, leading to tooth loss.
Q: What is periodontal disease?
A: Periodontal disease is the inflammation/swelling of gums and the loss of bone support around your teeth. If left untreated, it can lead to loose teeth and tooth loss.
Periodontitis affects your gums, bone and teeth in a manner that cannot be reversed. To prevent tooth loss, you may require more extensive, specialized treatment from your general dentist or even from a periodontist. If left untreated, periodontitis results in tooth loss – teeth either fall out on their own or must be extracted. If you don’t catch periodontitis in its early stages, you may require extensive surgery to save your teeth and may put yourself at risk for other serious health problems.
According to Caesy Dental Education, “Ailments associated with periodontal disease include respiratory disease, pneumonia, strokes, ulcers, difficult-to-control diabetes, low birth weight babies, and infective endocarditis, a dangerous infection of the heart valves. Researchers recently discovered that this chronic infection in your mouth creates an open doorway for plaque bacteria to enter the blood stream. These bacteria may cause blood clots that can block your arteries and even trigger a heart attack.”
Q: My gums bleed, why is this?
A: Gums affected by gingivitis become red and inflamed, often bleeding during brushing or flossing. Timely treatment can reverse these conditions. However, if these conditions are ignored, your periodontal disease can worsen, becoming a condition called periodontitis. Periodontitis is much more difficult to treat.
Periodontitis affects your gums, bone, and teeth in a manner that cannot be reversed. To prevent tooth loss, you may require more extensive, specialized treatment from your general dentist or even a periodontist. If left untreated, periodontitis results in tooth loss – teeth either fall out on their own or must be extracted. If you don’t diagnose and treat periodontitis in its early stages, you may require extensive surgery to save your teeth and may put yourself at risk for other serious health problems.
Q: My gums bleed after I brush. Should I be concerned?
A: It is certainly not desirable to have bleeding gums following brushing. However, the condition may or may not require attention, depending on the source of the problem. Bleeding gums can be caused by any of the following: improper, rough “scrubbing” instead of gentle, circular brushing motions; use of a hard-bristled tooth brush instead of a soft one; plaque and/or tartar build-up below the gum line; or gum sensitivity due to gingivitis or periodontal disease. If this problem persists despite correct brushing and flossing methods or if it occurs every time you brush, contact our office to set up an evaluation appointment.