Gums (Periodontal)Houston Gum disease prevention and care
Periodontal Disease (or gum disease) is a serious infection in your gums that is mainly caused by bacterial plaque constantly forming on your teeth. When plaque isn’t removed by brushing, flossing and regular dental cleanings, it can turn to tartar—a hard substance that can only be removed either by a dentist. When left in your mouth, plaque and tartar can cause inflammation of your gums, which can develop into infections below the gum line causing the gum to separate from your teeth creating pockets that become infected and can even fill with pus.
As the pockets deepen and the disease becomes more pronounced, bone and gum tissue are destroyed which can ultimately result in tooth loss. Periodontal disease is stealthy, usually giving no or very few signs of its existence. Regular dental checkups can detect periodontal disease at even its earliest stages. Since periodontal disease is created by plaque and tartar buildup on your gums, good dental hygiene is a must in preventing gum disease.
Along with good daily oral hygiene habits, regular visits to your dentist for checkups and professional cleanings involving scaling and root-planing that will remove plaque or tartar buildup, will help keep your gums healthy and free of periodontal disease and infections.
Scaling and Root Planing
Even with good daily oral hygiene, some plaque still remains in your mouth; over time it can harden and become tartar (also known as calculus) which, if left in your mouth, causes periodontal disease. Only a dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar with a process called “scaling”, in which either ultrasound vibrations or a manual tool called a scaler are used to remove tartar from the portion of your tooth that is below the gum line.
Since plaque and calculus love to grab onto rough surfaces of the tooth, once the built-up tartar has been removed from your tooth, the rough or irregular surfaces are smoothed away with a process called “root planing.” This process is used to prevent periodontal disease, reverse any early signs of gum disease, and to prevent any existing periodontal disease from spreading.