Periodontal Disease Maintenance
From a young age, we are repeatedly reminded of the dangers of tooth decay and gum disease. We are encouraged to brush and floss daily to keep our teeth free of tartar and plaque, and to use mouthwash to neutralize any remaining bacteria that our toothbrush can’t reach.
However, for as much as our young selves were warned of the gum disease gingivitis, not everybody has a firm understanding of what it is or how, if left untreated, it can advance to its significantly more damaging counterpart, periodontitis.
Dentists everywhere are locked in a constant battle against periodontal disease, and Edna Santos, DDS, of Union Square Cosmetic Dentistry is no different. Our friendly and knowledgeable team of oral healthcare professionals fight back against gum disease with gentle treatments and compassionate care.
Gingivitis vs. Periodontitis: What’s the Difference?
Gingivitis is considered the mildest form of gum disease. It generally causes inflamed gums, mild discomfort, and bleeding after brushing and flossing. It can be cured through professional care and strict adherence to your daily oral care routine.
Periodontitis, however, is a much more damaging stage of gum disease. While it shares the gum inflammation and bleeding symptoms with gingivitis, its harm can be much more permanent and far-reaching. Some of these symptoms include:
● Recurrent swelling of the gums
● Bad breath and a persistent metallic taste
● Receding gum line, causing teeth to appear longer
● Deep pockets between the teeth and gums
● Bone loss
● In advanced stages, loose teeth
It is important to note that unlike gingivitis, periodontitis is a chronic disease and cannot be cured. The only solution is routine maintenance carried out by an oral healthcare professional combined with good daily oral hygiene habits. This means brushing twice daily, flossing, and rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash.
For gingivitis, cleanings, as well as scaling and root planings, are usually enough to rid a patient of the ailment. For periodontitis, though, our expert hygienist must administer a more thorough treatment to help send the disease into remission. This comprehensive cleaning is known as periodontal maintenance.
Much like a regular cleaning, this procedure involves cleaning the teeth of plaque and tartar, both above and below the gum line. The teeth are polished with a special abrasive toothpaste that removes any remaining plaque and smooths the surface of the enamel, making it more difficult for bacteria to accumulate.
The maintenance also includes the irrigation and placement of topical antibiotics in deeper pockets as needed, cleaning the pockets of bacterial deposits. You may also require digital full-mouth radiographs on occasion to determine if the bone level is stable. A loss in bone mass usually requires selective treatment.
A Lifetime of Happy, Healthy Smiles
Periodontitis is a harmful disease, but with the help of our team at Union Square Cosmetic Dentistry, it can be managed for a lifetime of oral health.
Our state-of-the-art dental practice serves Union Square and all of San Francisco with beautiful, healthy smiles. Call us today to schedule a visit with Dr. Santos and ensure your long-term oral health.