Periodontal Health at Lincoln Park Smiles
Sometimes the greatest threat to your dental health is invisible. It creeps in between your teeth and under your gums, leading to consequences such as tooth loss, gum recession, and general oral pain. Bad oral health is also associated with such deadly afflictions as diabetes and heart disease.
Do not fear, however, because not only are these consequences preventable, but they are also easily treated once diagnosed. All it takes is a little care from Lincoln Park Smiles, and you’ll be on your way with a noticeably healthier mouth.
Let’s start with the basics: another word for periodontium is gum disease. This affliction is the swelling of the gums due to the presence of bacteria in the plaque that collects beneath and around the gums. Periodontal health is assessed based on the level of attachment, probing depth, bone loss, and severity of inflammation of the gums. If we are being completely honest, most people have evidence of periodontal disease to some degree, and it can be relatively benign. In the beginning, periodontal disease takes the form of gingivitis. Approximately 50-84% of Americans adults have gingivitis, but the prolific nature of this affliction does not make it any less serious. In fact, because so many American adults are familiar with the symptoms of gingivitis such as gum tenderness, periodontal health is often pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. However, the line between harmless and toothless is all too easily crossed. As with most things, it is better to take preventative measures.
As every dentist that is worth his/her salt will tell you, most dental problems can be prevented by brushing your teeth twice daily, flossing, and using mouthwash to purge your mouth of bacteria and residual bits of food. If possible, pick a toothbrush that has soft bristles, and a toothpaste that has fluoride as one of its ingredients. In terms of floss, ask your dentist what the best floss for you may be. If your gums have receded from your teeth, then a wider floss or even a toothpick may be the best choice. If you, like most people, aren’t the most diligent about your dental hygiene, then dentists like the ones at Lincoln Park Smiles are there to help.
Once the simple prevention of excellent oral hygiene has been exhausted, and you still are feeling some swelling in your gums, it is time to visit the dentist. Periodontal procedures are mostly quick and relatively painless. Depending on the level of damage, you could experience any of the following:
- Thorough Cleaning from a Qualified Dentist
The first step is to go in for your bi-annual cleaning. This will serve as both prevention and treatment if your periodontal health has deteriorated to the beginning stages of gingivitis. At every cleaning, your dentist should conduct tests that assess your gum health.
- Scaling and Root Planing (Deep Cleaning)
Your dentist will first remove plaque and tartar from the periodontal pockets of your teeth, which are the root surfaces of your teeth. Then they will ensure that your gums are able to reattach by smoothing down the area of your tooth that is in your periodontal pocket.
- Periodontal Surgery
This procedure is the same as a scaling and root planing, except that it is on a larger scale. The dentist will go in and clean plaque, bacteria, and tartar from places otherwise inaccessible. Afterward, they are required to stitch your gums securely back into place, so that they may properly support your teeth.
Though not its own independent treatment, the dentist may also prescribe medications in the form of pills, mouthwash, or a locally applied medicine that will address the disease. Additionally, in the post-surgery phase, your dentist may recommend that you use splints or bite guards to keep your teeth from shifting around too much and disturbing the healing process. It is also recommended to avoid tobacco products while healing, because the chemicals in the products may retard the healing process.
Periodontal health is such an important field of health in dentistry that it has its own specialist: a periodontist. Hopefully, through the preventative methods of brushing, flossing, and regular cleanings, you will not need to go in for a scaling and planing.
Are you ready for a checkup on your periodontal health? Make an appointment with Lincoln Park Smiles. We will do everything we can to prevent pain, and keep your smile looking great!
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