Preventing Gum Disease

What can you do to prevent periodontal (gum) disease or to get the best result if you need periodontal treatment?  First, completely clean all teeth surfaces at least once a day to break up and remove gum disease-causing bacterial plaque. This means you need to use a toothbrush and dental floss or another device that gets to the between-the-teeth and under the gumline surfaces. Doing this well is not easy and special advice from your dentist or dentist’s staff may be helpful. And because of the shape of the teeth under the gums, you may not be cleaning every tooth surface well enough and the plaque left on your teeth may harden into impossible to remove tartar (calculus). These tough-to-reach areas and stuck on tartar are a target of a professional cleaning. How often you need this service is special for you. It might be as frequently as every 3 months or as long as 2 years. There are several reasons that are used to determine how often you need to have your teeth professionally cleaned, which include your risk for gum disease, the effectiveness of your personal teeth cleaning efforts, dietary habits like coffee, tea, and red wine drinkers, smoking or other tobacco use, saliva components that lead to faster build-up of tartar, physical factors like crowded teeth, or even genetic factors that make you more susceptible to developing gum problems.

In addition to periodic professional cleaning specifically for preventing gum disease, additional treatment may be needed if gum disease has already begun. This is determined by your dentist and may include:

  1. One or more appointments to thoroughly remove the gum disease-causing bacteria. This may be quite difficult when tartar (dental calculus) is stuck to the teeth under the gums.
  2. One or more gum surgery procedures may be needed to repair the bone supporting the teeth to its’ normal shape, so that the gums can re-adhere tightly to the tbone and tooth root, and all surfaces of the tooth that need to be cleaned at home can be easily reached. Sometimes teeth need to be extracted if there has been too much bone loss.
  3. Once periodontal surgery is done you will usually require more frequent periodontal recall appointments (2 to 4 times per year) to maintain good health for your gums.

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