Gum disease is an inflammation of the gum line that can lead to loss of bone that surrounds and supports your teeth. A dental deep cleaning gum treatment is used to remove the bacteria and tartar from under the gum line.
What causes gum disease?
Our mouths are full of bacteria. These bacteria, along with mucus and other particles, constantly form a sticky, colorless “plaque” on teeth. Brushing and flossing help get rid of plaque. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form “tartar” that brushing doesn’t clean. Only a professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar.
The longer plaque and tartar are on teeth, the more harmful they become. The bacteria cause inflammation of the gums that is called “gingivitis.” In gingivitis, the gums become red, swollen and can bleed easily. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that can usually be reversed with daily brushing and flossing, and regular cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist. This form of gum disease does not include any loss of bone and tissue that hold teeth in place.
When gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to “periodontitis” (which means “inflammation around the tooth”). In periodontitis, gums pull away from the teeth and form spaces (called “pockets”) that become infected. Bacterial toxins and the body’s natural response to infection start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. If not treated, the bones, gums, and tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. The teeth may eventually become loose and have to be removed. The problem is that until it gets quite severe, the person often has no symptoms. Sadly, the damage to the support structures of the teeth is irreversible. The good news is that if gum disease is caught in time, its progression can be halted and improved upon, and that is the key.
How do I know if I have gum disease?
- Bad breath that won’t go away
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums or longer appearing teeth
Any of these symptoms may be a sign of a serious problem, which should be checked by a dentist.
How is gum disease treated?
There are a variety of treatments for gum disease depending on the stage of disease, how you may have responded to earlier treatments, and your overall health. Treatments range from nonsurgical therapies that control bacterial growth to surgery to restore supportive tissues.
Deep Cleaning (Scaling and Root Planing)
The dentist removes the plaque through a deep cleaning gum treatment method called scaling and root planing. Scaling means scraping off the tartar from above and below the gum line. Root planing gets rid of rough spots on the tooth root where the germs gather, and helps remove bacteria that contribute to the disease. In some cases a laser may be used to remove plaque and tartar.
A prescription mouthrinse containing an antimicrobial called chlorhexidine. This helps to control bacteria when treating gingivitis and after gum surgery. It is used like a regular mouthwash.
Antibiotics gel to control bacteria and reduce the size of periodontal pockets The dentist puts it in the pockets after scaling and root planing. The antibiotic is released slowly over a period of several days.
Flap Surgery. Surgery might be necessary if inflammation and deep pockets remain following treatment with deep cleaning and medications. A dentist or periodontist may perform flap surgery to remove tartar deposits in deep pockets or to reduce the periodontal pocket and make it easier for the patient, dentist, and hygienist to keep the area clean. This common surgery involves lifting back the gums and removing the tartar. The gums are then sutured back in place so that the tissue fits snugly around the tooth again. After surgery the gums will heal and fit more tightly around the tooth.
Bone grafts. In addition to flap surgery, your dentist may suggest procedures to help regenerate any bone or gum tissue lost to periodontitis. Bone grafting, in which natural or synthetic bone is placed in the area of bone loss, can help promote bone growth.
Soft tissue grafts. This procedure reinforces thin gums or fills in places where gums have receded. Grafted tissue, most often taken from the roof of the mouth, is stitched in place, adding tissue to the affected area.
In some patients, the non-surgical procedure of scaling and root planing is all that is needed to treat gum diseases. Surgery is needed when the tissue around the teeth is unhealthy and cannot be repaired with non-surgical options.
How can I keep my teeth and gums healthy?
- Brush your teeth twice a day (with a fluoride toothpaste, if recommended by your dentist).
- Floss regularly to remove plaque from between teeth.
- Visit the dentist routinely for a check-up and professional cleaning. Your dentist can determine if you need deep cleaning gum treatment.
- Don’t smoke.
Can gum disease cause health problems beyond the mouth?
In some studies, researchers have observed that people with gum disease were more likely to develop heart disease or have difficulty controlling blood sugar. Other studies showed that women with gum disease were more likely than those with healthy gums to deliver preterm, low birth weight babies. But so far, it has not been determined whether gum disease is the cause of these conditions.
In the meantime, it’s a fact that controlling gum disease can save your teeth – a very good reason to take care of your teeth and gums.
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Fremont Dentist Dr. Jaspreet Harika DDS is an experienced dentist serving Fremont, Newark CA, Union City, Hayward, Milpitas and surrounding areas. Practicing general and cosmetic dentistry. She uses gentle techniques to perform dental procedures like root canal. She makes it a painless dental experience for her patients.
Serving zip code 94536, 94538, 94539, 94541, 94542, 94555, 94560, 94587, 95035, and beyond.
Some people wonder if deep cleaning gum treatment can be performed at home. This is a procedure that needs expertise of a licensed dental professional. Only a Dentist or a Registered Dental Hygienist can perform deep cleaning gum treatment.