If you know gum disease runs in your family, it’s important that you see a dentist regularly for help with periodontics. Periodontics is a specialized field of dentistry that focuses on preventing and treating periodontal disease, a disease that attacks the gums.
Gum health is crucial for maintaining overall oral health. Without the gums, teeth would be unable to connect properly to the jawbone and sit in the mouth, resulting in tooth loss and decay. Periodontal disease has also been linked to other issues, including heart disease. Unfortunately, many people neglect taking care of their gums, especially by eating unhealthy foods and not flossing regularly.
During the first visit, a dentist will perform a visual and tactile exam of the gums to determine overall health and wellness. If the gums are swollen, bleeding, or receding, then it is most likely that the patient has some form of periodontal disease and might need help preventing the development of more advanced stages and problems. After the initial exam, it is common for the dentist to take x-rays and use a device that measures the depth and distance of gum pockets, or the space between each tooth.
Once the dentist has a good idea of your gum health, they will recommend nonsurgical or surgical treatments. Scaling and root planing are common options that remove tartar and bacteria while also making it more difficult for plaque to cling to the enamel of the teeth. Antibiotics might also be prescribed to treat a preexisting infection, especially if bacteria have caused the gums to be puffy and swollen.
Some surgical options are also available, but they are reserved for severe cases that cannot be fixed with regular treatment. These include pocket reduction, soft tissue grafts, bone grafting, guided tissue regeneration, and the application of tissue-stimulating proteins.
If you need help with your gums, the first step is to start flossing and avoid future irritants like acidic food. Then, make an appointment with a skilled dentist like the one at Scripps Poway Dental Care.