Ashamed. Embarrassed. Self-Conscious. If you have periodontal disease, these are some of the feelings you might have surrounding the issue. However, almost half of all adults in the United States over the age of 30 and 70% of adults over the age of 65 have periodontal disease. You have absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about. However, there are a few things you need to know about periodontal maintenance so you can have healthy, happy gums!
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that impacts your gum tissue and the bones that support your teeth. When it progresses, it can cause your teeth to loosen or even fall out. That is why it is so important to talk to your dentist about periodontal maintenance and how it can help save your smile!
Although periodontal disease is really common, it can usually be prevented with a strict oral hygiene routine. Everyone should brush twice a day, floss once a day, and get dental check ups on a regular basis. People with periodontal disease absolutely MUST brush at least twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste, floss daily, and get periodontal maintenance treatments every few months.
If the gums have pulled away from the teeth, it’s so important that these pockets are cleaned out, since they’re a common place for plaque and tartar to accumulate. In some cases, periodontal surgery may be recommended.
There are certain risk factors that might cause you to be more at risk for periodontal disease. For example, people with diabetes are more likely to have it, because it can lower your resistance to infection. Similarly, those with blood cell disorders, and AIDS can cause periodontal disease to progress more quickly. Heart disease, strokes, and high stress may also be linked to periodontal disease, although the connections between them are still being studied.
If you’re a smoker, now is a great time to quit. Smokers have twice the risk for gum disease compared with a non-smoker, and tobacco use also makes treatment much more difficult.
Periodontal Maintenance Cleanings
If you’ve had periodontal disease for a little while, there’s a good chance you’ve already had periodontal maintenance cleaning, also commonly called scaling and root planing. Scaling is a deep cleaning procedure where we remove plaque and tartar above and below your gum line. Root planing is when we smooth out the roots of your teeth so your gums can reattach.
This process can cause a little discomfort, so we will use a local anesthesia to keep you comfortable. We like to have patients with periodontal disease come in every three to four months for scaling and root planing. After the issue is under control, you can come in less frequently.
Recently, we shared a blog post about our Inspired Smiles Membership Club. If you don’t have traditional dental insurance, don’t worry! We offer a Perio Membership Club option that includes 2-3 periodontal maintenance cleanings per year, two doctor exams, necessary x-rays, and discounts on other dental procedures like crowns, fillings, and orthodontic treatments. Give our office a call at 708-419-2496 to learn more!