Periodontal care is an essential part of your oral healthcare. Your gums provide a foundation for your teeth, contribute to your overall health, and complement your appearance for an attractive smile. During your biannual dental visits, we will remove hard-to-reach dental plaque to prevent it from causing gum disease. If necessary, you can also undergo scaling and root planing, which removes plaque and bacteria from beneath your gum line. Dr. Rohinton J. Patel and our team provide comprehensive periodontal care at our Honolulu, HI office to help maintain our patients’ well-being so they can enjoy healthy smiles for years to come. Contact our office today to learn more about periodontal care and schedule your biannual cleaning appointment with Dr. Patel.
What is Periodontal Care?
You probably know that bacteria can accumulate on your teeth in a film called plaque, feeding on sugar and producing acids that can eat away at your enamel and damage your teeth. Plaque can also build up around or under your gum line, causing infection. In the same way that brushing your teeth allows you to remove debris and kill bacteria, proper periodontal hygiene keeps your gums clean and healthy. This is why it is important to floss at least once per day, in addition to brushing your teeth at least twice. You should also come in for a cleaning and examination at least twice per year, during which our hygienists and Dr. Patel will thoroughly remove plaque and tartar (hardened plaque deposits) from your teeth and gums.
If you do not remove plaque from underneath your gums, bacteria can collect and reproduce there, causing infection. Periodontal care is especially important because, in addition to causing uncomfortable oral symptoms, gum infection has been shown to increase your risk for or exacerbate other conditions, such as stroke, heart conditions, respiratory illnesses, and diabetes. Investing the necessary time and energy in your periodontal health can help you keep your gums and your entire body working optimally.
The Stages of Gum Disease
There are two major stages of gum disease, which occurs when bacteria build up beneath your gums and cause infection:
Accumulated bacteria under your gums can produce toxins and acidic material that irritate the tissue, causing it to appear red, swell, or bleed when disturbed during flossing or brushing. If you suffer from gingivitis, as many patients do, we can treat it by properly cleaning plaque from beneath your gums and helping you implement better periodontal care at home.
If gingivitis is left untreated, it can develop into periodontitis, a much more serious condition. When the infection reaches this stage, bacteria begin to damage the bones and tissues that help stabilize your teeth. The infection can progress so bacteria create a swollen pocket under the gums, allowing for even more debris and bacteria to collect there. As a result of periodontitis, your gums can even pull away from your tooth and cause you to lose it. Depending on the severity of your periodontitis, you may need to implement special cleaning protocols, take antibiotic medications, or even undergo gum surgery to repair the damaged tissue.
Deep Cleaning for Your Gums
Catching and reversing gum disease is the key to maintaining oral and overall health. If you have tartar or pockets of bacteria under your gums, Dr. Patel will typically recommend a periodontal therapy called scaling and root planing. During this treatment, we will apply local anesthesia and then use an instrument to remove plaque and debris from beneath your gums. We will also perform root planing, using a different tool to smooth textured areas of your tooth below the gum line where bacteria might collect. This deep cleaning process typically takes one to three visits and can stop or slow the progression of gum disease, especially if you improve your periodontal care and hygiene following treatment.
Protect Your Mouth with Periodontal Care
Keeping your gums healthy can help you preserve your well-being, reduce your risk for oral health issues, and maintain a beautiful smile. To learn more or schedule an appointment with Dr. Patel, contact our office today.