Periodontics is a field of dentistry that focuses specifically on the health and treatment of the supporting structures of teeth. This includes the jaw ridge supporting the tooth sockets, various tissue ligaments, and the gums.
One of the most common ailments we see in this specialty is gum disease, the infection of the gums and soft tissues surrounding the teeth that may, over time, destroy the teeth roots and jawbone.
To learn more about gum disease, we invite you to read below. If you have gum disease or are interested in learning how to prevent it, please call our office to schedule an appointment! By remaining proactive and seeking care from a professional, you and your family have a great chance at maintaining a healthy smile.
What is Gum Disease?
The first step in treating or preventing gum disease is understanding what it is and how it affects your oral health. The condition is relatively common but easily prevented with proper oral hygiene care. This includes brushing twice each day, flossing daily, and attending routine dental care appointments.
In most cases, gum disease develops due to poor oral hygiene; when teeth are not brushed and flossed properly, plaque and tartar can form and begin to accumulate in the regions around the gum line. This causes the gums to become inflamed and pull away from the surface of the tooth, creating pockets between the gum tissue and bone. As plaque and tartar continue to form, they thrive in these pockets, out of reach from your toothbrush. In the later stages of gum disease, this leads to bone loss, tooth mobility, and loss of teeth.
Gum disease occurs in three separate stages, each becoming more severe:
- Gingivitis – The first stage of gum disease, characterized by swollen and red gums that bleed or feel tender when you brush or floss. Due to these symptoms being so minor, it may be quite difficult for you to recognize the beginning of the condition.
- Periodontitis – This is the second stage of gum disease. At this point, the condition is no longer curable, but may be managed by professional dental treatment. These symptoms include increased depth of gum pockets, tooth sensitivity as gums pull away from teeth, and bad breath. You will also continue to experience the symptoms associated with gingivitis. The bacteria will begin targeting the bone supporting your teeth at this stage.
- Advanced periodontitis – The final stage of gum disease is identified by the continuance of symptoms associated with the prior stages, plus the loss of teeth and advancement of infection in the gum tissue. You may see pus forming around the teeth and experience increased pain and difficulty with chewing food or brushing.
Scaling & Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is a deep cleaning procedure utilized in our office to treat gum disease as it reaches more advanced stages. While gingivitis can typically be resolved by standard cleaning, periodontitis and advanced periodontitis require more attention.
With this procedure, teeth are cleaned by the use of special tools that remove the plaque and tartar from the teeth. While this process is also performed during a standard cleaning procedure, what makes scaling and root planing much different is that we clean both above and below the gum line.
- We carefully clean within each gum pocket and remove any bacteria from these spaces to allow the gums to reattach to the teeth.
- In areas where the disease has damaged the bones, we will smooth out the surface to remove pits and eroded areas. This eliminates the opportunity for bacteria to accumulate there again.
Keeping Your Gums Healthy & Teeth Supported
Our team is committed to serving you by going above and beyond in the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of gum disease. When you choose Cape Lookout Dental, you’re choosing the best oral care for you and your family. Our team members in Morehead City, NC are true experts in the field and capable of doing what it takes to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Call today to schedule an appointment with us! We look forward to serving you.