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Gum Disease Therapy

The irreversible stage of gum disease is known as periodontitis or periodontal disease. It is the next step after the more well-known gum disease, gingivitis. Gingivitis is a reversible disease where the gums are swollen due to high levels of bacteria and soft plaque accumulation around the teeth and underneath the gums. Gingivitis is easily cured with regular dental cleanings followed by developing good oral hygiene habits.

If gingivitis is not taken care of, it frequently progresses to an irreversible state where the gum AND the surrounding bone gets affected. In periodontitis, the bone that supports the teeth start to decrease because of hard tartar build-up underneath the gums. Tartar is essentially hardened plaque that no longer can be removed from teeth with just brushing and flossing. Once tartar sticks to your teeth, through complex biochemical processes of the body, the body signals the surrounding bone and supporting structures of the teeth to move away from the tartar, eventually causing gums to peel away from the teeth (gum recession) and roots of teeth to show. It can also cause teeth sensitivity to cold and loose teeth.

In order to treat most cases of periodontitis, a deep cleaning (scaling and root planing) procedure is recommended followed by the maintaining excellent oral hygiene. During a deep cleaning, you may have to get anesthetized depending on the severity of your disease and how sensitive your teeth are. The dentist or hygienist will then use a high-power ultrasonic scaler followed by manual scalers to scrape off the tartar build-up. If periodontitis reaches an advanced stage, deep cleanings may not be enough to manage the disease. In these severe cases, additional surgical procedures may be required.

If that all sounds very bleak and daunting, there is good news. You don't have to have periodontal disease; it's easily avoidable! But the choice and the actions to avoid it has to come from you. Ready to take action?

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