Periodontal disease, which is gum disease, is something that nearly everyone gets at one time or another in their lifetime. While proper dental hygiene including brushing and flossing at least once a day can help to keep gum disease at bay, you can still get gum disease even if you are a champion of oral hygiene. Gum disease can be caused by illness, as a side effect of certain medications and even by genetics. Regular dental check ups are important because they can detect gum disease at its early stages. It is easy to treat at the first stage, called gingivitis, but when it advances to the more serious stage of periodontitis, more intensive treatment is needed. Sometimes, extremely advanced gum disease may even require surgical treatment.
Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums that’s caused by the buildup and spreading of bacteria. There are always bacteria in our mouths, but regular brushing and flossing gets rid of food particles that can allow the bacteria to feed on sugars and grow. When bacteria grow, the gum tissues become irritated and respond with redness and swelling. At Dr. Aman’s Leesburg office, gingivitis can be treated with simple cleaning.
When gingivitis has advanced to the form of periodontitis, this means that the problem has spread below the gum line. This requires a procedure called scaling and root planing to correct. Scaling is the actual scraping off of plaque and tartar, the soft and hard buildup on the teeth, going down below the gum line. Planing involves smoothing the tooth root to prevent further buildup.
In severe cases where scaling cannot reach all the tartar, surgery may be required to pull back the gums so that all the tartar can be completely removed. Gum disease does not have to advance to this stage if it is caught early. Simple gingivitis is hard to avoid completely, but it is completely reversible with simple treatment. If you brush and floss your teeth regularly and have regular check ups twice a year, Dr. Aman can catch gingivitis and stop it before it becomes more of a problem.