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Periodontal Maintenance – What Does it Mean for You?

By Jill Feilmeier on June 18, 2013 in Dental Health

Dentist showing a patient an Ipad with info

Gum disease is more common than you may think! 1 out of 2 American adults over the age of 30 has periodontal disease, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. In adults over age 65, that number rises to 70%.

Periodontitis is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects gum tissue and the bone supporting the teeth. If untreated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss. It has also been linked to diabetes and heart disease. Since you don't usually have pain with gum disease, you might not know you have it. Warning signs include:

• Red, swollen tender gums that bleed easily.
• Gums that have pulled away from the teeth.
• Persistent bad breath or bad taste.
• Permanent teeth that are loose or separating.

If you think you might have gum disease, make an appointment with your dentist stat! The sooner you treat it, the better.

Periodontitis is the most severe form of gum disease. It no longer is as easily treatable as the early form – gingivitis. For this reason, you might have to visit your dentist for periodontal maintenance, which is not the same as visiting for a basic cleaning.

Cleaning techniques for advanced gum disease include 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. It is generally a more in depth cleaning and may require topical anesthetic depending on the severity of your gum disease.

Your dentist will also want you to continue your treatment for gum disease at home. Twice daily brushing and nightly flossing will be imperative to maintaining your gum disease.