Periodontal Maintenance – Folsom, CA
So much of dentistry is focused on teeth. But the teeth are only a part of the mouth. The structures around the teeth – especially the gums – are especially at risk for disease or infection. In dentistry, both at home with oral hygiene and at the dentist’s office, one of our main goals is to make sure these structures remain healthy so that we can reduce the risk of periodontal disease.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is characterized by an active inflammation of the gums and the loss of bone support surrounding the teeth. The mild form of this disease only affects the gums, but as it gets more severe, it starts affecting all the tissues and bone structures around the teeth. It is important to treat this disease, as further neglect can lead to irreversible damage or even the loss of teeth.
This disease is caused by the presence of certain strains of bacteria, which feeds on the dental plaque that accumulates around your teeth and gums. Your body sends a signal to eliminate the bacteria, and in an effort to do so, it sends substances that actually cause gums to become inflamed and deteriorate. A simpler way to view it is how identical to how Arthritis affects different parts of the body by inflammation of the joints and causing deterioration of the support structures present. The two most common forms of periodontal disease are:
- Gingivitis – inflammation affecting the gums of teeth
- Periodontitis – inflammation affecting the bones and surrounding tissues of teeth
As these diseases progress, they can cause large scale and even irreversible damage to teeth that is more costly to fix. As with most diseases, prevention is critical for avoiding gum disease, and most gum disease can be prevented with proper techniques and regular visit to your dentist.
What Are Some Factors That Create Risk for Periodontal Disease?
We mentioned that the most probable cause of periodontal disease are the formation of bacteria on the plaque, however there are also other factors that may contribute to the development of this disease including:
- Smoking – Smoking not only increases the risk for developing periodontal diseases, but also causes the disease to worsen. Smokers collect much more plaque and weakens the immune system, setting up an increased likelihood of developing gum disease.
- Grinding or Clenching of Teeth – Grinding itself will not lead to the development of periodontal disease. However, if it already exists, this habit can increase the severity of the disease as it speeds up the deterioration of bone.
- Genetics – According to a recent study, 30% of people have a genetic risk for periodontal disease. But at risk does not mean the disease is inevitable, as it can still be prevented with proper oral hygiene.
- Stress – Stress is a factor for almost all diseases as having stress weakens your body’s overall immune system. Those that find themselves under stress may be more likely to experience periodontal disease.
- Changing Hormones – Puberty, pregnancy, and menopause are all factors that can contribute to the onset of periodontal disease.
- Medication – Several medications cause dry mouth. Dry mouth is linked to the development of periodontal disease, because saliva in the mouth helps to eliminate and prevent bacteria. Some medications that cause dry mouth include certain antidepressants, diuretics, and high blood pressure medications.
These are only some of the risk factors of periodontal disease. Some of these are preventable, and so paying attention to these risk factors becomes important for preventing/managing your oral health. But no matter the risk, good oral hygiene and visits to the dentist are the most important steps you can take towards managing and preventing gum disease.
Periodontal Maintenance vs. Regular Cleaning
A regular dental checkup is typically performed twice a year and is implemented as a preventative measure for oral health issues.
But if you already have periodontal disease, you may need additional treatments. We call this “Periodontal Maintenance.” Periodontal maintenance is performed 3-4 times a year and involves the removal of plaque buildup from the gum all the way down to where the root, gum, and bone meet.
What Can You Do for Prevention?
The most important and beneficial way in which you can prevent the development of periodontal disease is to thoroughly brush twice a day and clean between your teeth once a day. It is also important to receive regular checkups to ensure that you are taking the necessary precautionary steps. Proper oral healthcare is the best defense against periodontal disease.
If you think you may already have some form of gum disease, or you’re concerned about the health of your teeth and mouth, contact Esthetic Reflections in Dentistry today.
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