Hygiene Corner

I have gum disease; now what?

Gum disease can be a scary diagnosis, especially with all the research linking it to other major health problems like heart disease and certain types of cancer. It’s our goal to help you manage this disease so you can avoid tooth loss, and reduce your risk for other health problems.

People with gum disease have different bacteria in their mouths than healthy patients – this bacteria aggressively attacks the supporting structures of the teeth, which leads to teeth becoming loose or lost, and it is a lifelong battle to keep it under control. If your hygienist diagnoses you with gum disease, she will recommend a specific regimen to stabilize the disease and help keep the bad bacteria from recolonizing.

What types of treatment are recommended for gum disease?

Mild to Moderate Gum Disease:

  • Deep Cleaning: your hygienist will clean underneath the gumline to remove the bad bacteria and plaque that destroy bone. In certain areas you may need antibiotics placed under the gum to resolve the infection. You will be numb for this procedure to ensure you don’t feel any discomfort.
  • Home Care: it’s your job to keep them squeaky clean now- we will give you a complimentary Sonicare toothbrush, floss, and discuss what type of rinse you’ll need to use at home.
  • Professional dental cleaning every 90 days: despite your best efforts at home, the bad bacteria will multiply within 3 weeks following your deep cleaning. By 90 days, they are flourishing and will begin to cause destruction if they aren’t disturbed. Cleanings every 90 days help re-establish an equilibrium between your body and the bad bacteria to keep the disease under control.

Moderate to Severe Gum Disease:

  • Deep Cleaning: your hygienist will clean underneath the gumline to remove the bad bacteria and plaque that destroy bone. In certain areas you may need antibiotics placed under the gum to resolve the infection. You will be numb for this procedure to ensure you don’t feel any discomfort.
  • Home Care: it’s your job to keep them squeaky clean now- we will give you a complimentary Sonicare toothbrush, floss, and discuss what type of rinse you’ll need to use at home.
  • Professional dental cleaning every 90 days: despite your best efforts at home, the bad bacteria will multiply within 3 weeks following your deep cleaning. By 90 days, they are flourishing and will begin to cause destruction if they aren’t disturbed. Cleanings every 90 days help re-establish an equilibrium between your body and the bad bacteria to keep the disease under control.
  • Surgical treatment: If the combined efforts of a deep cleaning, good home habits, and cleanings every 90 days, are not enough to stabilize the condition, you may need to see Dr. Gardner, the periodontist. She will evaluate the gums and bones and may recommend surgery. Some surgeries try to regrow bone that was destroyed, other surgeries can reshape the gums, or she may recommend laser surgery to create an environment to regrow the tissues (gum, bone, ligament) that are lost due to gum disease.

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