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Periodontal or gum disease is an infection and inflammation of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. If not treated or managed, the condition can continue to progress, leading to devastating effects on your oral health. In its advanced stages, periodontal disease can lead to bleeding, sore gums, painful chewing, bone loss, and even tooth loss. At Highlight Family Dentistry, we emphasize prevention to promote a lifetime of healthy smiles.
Most cases of periodontal disease develop due to poor oral hygiene. Without regular brushing, flossing, and twice-a-year professional dental cleanings, plaque can build up and irritate the gums, causing gum inflammation. Other risk factors include smoking, having crooked or misaligned teeth, family history, the natural aging process, and hormonal changes during pregnancy.
The most important thing you can do to prevent gum disease is to maintain good oral hygiene practices. Brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day and floss daily to remove plaque and prevent it from hardening to tartar. Rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash to further reduce your risk of gum disease. Don’t forget to visit Highlight Family Dentistry for your periodic dental exams and cleanings to allow us to monitor your oral health and intervene right away if we detect tell-tale signs of gum disease.
In addition to maintaining proper oral hygiene practices, you can help prevent gum disease by consuming a healthy, balanced diet, limiting sugar intake, and avoiding smoking or the use of tobacco products. If you see warning signs of early gum disease, including red, swollen, or bleeding gums, make sure to contact your trusted team at Highlight Family Dentistry right away.
If you develop periodontal disease, the earlier it is identified and treated, the better. In fact, gingivitis, which is the earliest stage of gum disease, can be successfully treated and fully reversed. If, however, the condition progresses past that stage, the gums will begin to separate from the teeth, leaving spaces known as pockets. These pockets provide the ideal environment for bacteria to flourish and continue wreaking havoc on your oral health.
The first and most effective treatment that stops gum disease from progressing is a non-surgical deep cleaning known as scaling and root planing. Scaling is similar to routine dental cleaning and involves using an instrument called a scaler to remove plaque and tartar deposits from the tooth surfaces and below the gum line.
The second part of the treatment, called root planing, involves cleaning and smoothing out the tooth root surfaces to prevent further bacteria and tartar buildup and promote gum tissue healing. If your periodontal disease has reached an advanced stage, we may recommend additional treatments, including medication or surgical intervention by a specialist.
Studies show that bacteria take about three months to take root in the dental pockets once again. That’s why we recommend periodontal maintenance visits every three months. These involve cleaning your teeth, evaluating your gums’ health, measuring the periodontal pockets, and assessing your gum recession. The goal of periodontal maintenance is to prevent the progression of gum disease to keep your gum tissue and bone as healthy as possible.
Contact Highlight Family Dentistry of Hutto, TX, to learn more about preventing, treating, and managing gum disease for long-term healthy smiles. You can always count on our team for outstanding, gentle care. Call us at (512) 886-2644 and schedule your appointment today!