What can you do to prevent gum disease or to get the best result if you need treatment? First, is to completely clean all teeth surfaces at least once a day to remove the sticky bacteria filled plaque that forms constantly on the teeth surfaces and eventually can lead to tooth decay or gum disease. This means you need to use a toothbrush and dental floss or another device that gets to the between-the-teeth 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 able to clean every tooth surface well enough. These tough-to-reach areas are a target of a professional cleaning. How often you need this service is special for you. It might be as frequently as 3 months or as long as 2 years. There are several factors reasons that are used to determine how often you need to have your teeth professionally cleaned, which include your risk for gum disease, whether or not you smoke or use tobacco products, the effectiveness of your own teeth cleaning efforts, your diet including coffee, tea, and red wine drinking, as well as genetic and physical factors such as tooth crowding or misalignment.

In addition to periodic professional cleaning specifically for gum disease, treatment may be needed. 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 it is part of tartar (dental calculus) that is stuck to the teeth under the gums.
  2. One or more gum surgery procedures to get to hard-to-reach tooth surfaces so that gum disease-causing bacteria can be removed, to repair the jaw bone’s normal shape so that the gums will re-adhere tightly to the teeth, or to extract a tooth that has had too much bone loss.