Healthy gums not only look great, but also feel great. Recent research has found that healthy gums can also mean that you are at a decreased risk for numerous chronic and systemic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. In addition to this, since periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults (in the U.S.), patients with healthy gums are less likely to lose teeth. In summary, it can be greatly beneficial to maintain health gums – it can mean the difference between a lifetime of healthy, beautiful smiles and chronic health struggles (oral and overall). Fortunately, there are skilled dentists dedicated to helping patients maintain their periodontal (gum) health. This is done through regular preventive visits and non-surgical gum therapies.
Preventive periodontal charting
One of the earliest indicators of gum disease is gum recession. You may have noticed that your dentist or hygienist keeps careful track of the depths of the pockets between your teeth and gums. This is a process called periodontal charting and provides a clear view of changes in the periodontal pockets. If there is a noticeable difference between six-month checkups, it will signal your dentist to take a closer look at your gum health. He or she may make recommendations for changes to your in-office and/or at-home dental care.
Treating early gum disease
If there are signs of the early stages of gum disease, your dental care team will typically renew your oral health with more frequent teeth cleanings. Your oral hygiene routine may also need reviewing. Taking these actions is usually sufficient for halting the advance of gum disease. However, if it proves unsuccessful, there are additional non-surgical treatments available to bring your smile back to health.
Advanced periodontal health options
Taking preventive measures is always the first choice in terms of treatment. However, if gum disease does happen to develop and is not effectively treated with more frequent professional cleanings, some non-surgical periodontal therapies include:
- Dental scaling: a removal of plaque and tartar buildup as well as damaged tissue
- Root planing: smoothing out the tooth roots; this helps to discourage the buildup of plaque and tartar along the gum line
- Antibiotics: both oral and topical antibiotics are available to limit the numbers of plaque-producing bacteria in the mouth