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Understanding Periodontal Maintenance
While the majority of trips to the dentist are standard exams, some trips require extra work. If your dentist or dental assistant were to find any complications, you could also be looking at having fillings, having dentures places, having a tooth removed, or more serious procedures. One of those procedures is periodontal maintenance. There is a lot of misunderstanding around this maintenance, but it’s important to understand what it is and how you can avoid having it.
Periodontal maintenance is often confused with other dental procedures, but there are several distinct characteristics of periodontal maintenance. The primary goal of periodontal maintenance is to treat and control the progression of periodontitis.
Periodontitis is an infection in the gum that could lead to damages in the soft tissue and bones around your teeth. If it isn’t treated and controlled, it can lead to devastating problems like tooth like or even heart attack.
Periodontitis is often confused with gingivitis because of the symptoms and causes of the infections, but they are very different things. Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums because of plaque build up on the tooth. While gingivitis can be irritating, there is no serious damage from it, but untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontitis.
It’s easy to see why the prevention or treatment of the infection is so important. Not only for your oral health but for your overall health as well.
Symptoms of Periodontitis
It’s important to be aware of your teeth and gums and any problems that you might be having. There are several different types of periodontitis, but each of them has common symptoms that you should be aware of.
- Swollen or tender gums
- Bright red gums
- Receding gums (your gums are exposing more teeth than before)
- Bad breath or a constant bad taste in your mouth
- Space between your teeth or loose teeth
- Differences in the way that your teeth fit when biting down.
These are just a few of the symptoms of periodontitis. If you are experiencing one or more of these problems, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately and share your concerns. The earlier that the infection is caught, the easier it is to treat. If you do have some of these problems, don’t panic, it isn’t necessarily periodontitis, it could be something much less threatening like a simple infection.
Testing for periodontitis is easy. Your dentist can do two different things to see if you have the condition. The first is measuring pocket depth between your gums and teeth and the other is x-ray to see if there has been any bone damage.
Reducing your Risk
Just like with any other infection or disease, you always want to lower your chances if getting it, periodontitis is no different. There are several changes that you can make to reduce your risk of having any oral health complications. Practicing good oral habits is an obvious way to reduce your risk, but there are some other things that most patients don’t know about. Some of the things that increase your risk are:
- Bad eating habits and nutrition
- Smoking or using tobacco
- Drastic hormonal changes
- Some medications
- Substance abuse
There are a lot of simple changes that you can make to reduce your risk and keep your mouth healthy. Quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and practicing proper oral health can have a huge impact on your mouth.
In most cases, treatment is very simple and won’t require any extensive surgery. Your dentist will start by removing plaque and tartar to clean your mouth and get rid of any excess bacteria. After that, they will clean out the areas below your gum line by doing a procedure called scaling.
In addition to basic cleaning techniques, your dentist will also recommend additional treatments. This could be an antimicrobial mouth rinse, this works like a typical mouthwash that is designed to kill bacteria that causes the infections. Another option aside from the mouthwash is a traditional antibiotic. These are taken in capsule form and would be just like any other medication.
There are also some other treatments that your dentist could administer depending on the severity of the condition. The health professional could also use an antibiotic gel or an antiseptic chip. Both of these works to manage the bacteria in the gums as well as shrink the pocket size in between the gums and the teeth and are used after a scaling and root planning.
If the condition is severe enough, you could have surgical treatments done to control the condition. Two of the most popular surgery treatments are flap surgery and bone and tissue grafts.
Flap surgery lifts the gums and then cleans and removes any tartar in the pockets, after that they gums are put back and will have a tighter fit to the teeth. Bone and tissue grafts are used to help replace some of the gum or bone that has been damaged because of the periodontitis. Both of these are only used in severe cases, if you do have periodontitis, more than likely your condition will not require either surgery as long as it is detected early enough.
Periodontitis and Oral Health
Taking care of your mouth should always be a priority. Having poor oral hygiene could lead to serious health complications, frustration, and discomfort. We all know that you should be brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing every night, but another important factor is visiting a dentist regularly. Regular visits can diagnose any problems or give advice on ways to improve your dental care. Periodontal maintenance is just one of the many different services that Dr. Goldsmith provides for his patients.
Dr. Goldsmith is dedicated to giving his patients the best care. He works to make his patients as comfortable as possible with minimal pain. Be sure to schedule your appointment today, give us a call at (317) 357-4018 or use the contact form.