The gums are one of the most essential structures of the mouth. They protect the vulnerable areas of your teeth, including the roots, and create a stable foundation for many years to come. But poor oral hygiene can easily break down gum tissue, putting your smile and oral health in jeopardy. If enough damage occurs, it can become irreversible, which is just another reason why you should always commit to brushing, flossing and visiting our practice every six months for cleanings and exams. If your gums do become infected, there are ways to treat the infection and prevent it from spreading. If you need periodontal therapy, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Tran or Dr. Brimmer to schedule an appointment!
In the earliest stages of gum disease, also known as gingivitis, you can easily reverse your condition by receiving a basic cleaning from one of our hygienists and by improving your at-home oral care. If you notice that your gums are bleeding slightly right after flossing and there is not any pain or tenderness, it’s likely only gingivitis. Deep cleaning is probably not needed at this stage.
However, if you exhibit more serious symptoms, such as receding or bleeding gums, pain and tenderness, or your gums begin to change color (i.e. red or purple), you’ll likely need a deep cleaning to restore your gum health.
Deep cleaning consists of two parts: scaling and root planing.
Scaling involves removing plaque and tartar (i.e. calcified plaque only removable by a dentist) from all the surfaces of teeth. This includes the area typically hidden by the gum line, but the gums will have receded enough to expose this area if you have advanced gum disease (periodontitis.)
Root planing is the process of smoothing out the tooth roots so that the gums can better reattach to your teeth. This also works to prevent future infections from occurring as the tissue heals. In some cases, antibacterial gel may be used to reduce the risk of any future issues as well.
After your initial deep cleaning is complete, you’ll likely need to come back for a follow-up in order to confirm that your gums are healing properly. Depending on the status of your gum health, you may need to come back for regular deep cleanings every three months.
During the healing period, your gums may feel sore for the first 48 hours after treatment. They may also feel swollen, tender and may bleed, but this is normal after a deep cleaning. However, you should still keep up with your oral care by brushing twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste, flossing at least once a day, avoiding all forms of tobacco and eating a balanced diet.
Gum disease needs to be closely managed over a long period of time. If your condition does not improve, we may recommend you to a periodontist who can provide recommendations for future treatment.