What is Gum Disease?
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a chronic infection of the gums. This infection is caused by the bacteria found in dental plaque. When plaque and tartar remain on the teeth, the gums can become inflamed and irritated. If these problems continue untreated, the gum infection worsens, and can lead to more serious problems including tooth loss and bone degeneration. In fact, gum disease has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Risk Factors for Gum Disease
Though poor oral hygiene and lifestyle are certainly contributing causes, some patients are simply more genetically prone to developing gum disease. There are several other risk factors that can contribute to the development of gum disease, including:
- Certain illnesses: Some diseases, such as diabetes, can place patients at a higher risk of developing gum disease.
- Hormones: Fluctuations in female hormones can make patients more prone to gingivitis and gum disease. This is especially true during pregnancy.
- Smoking: Tobacco use can have a significant negative impact on gum health.
- Medications: Certain prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause dry mouth, which increases the chances of developing gum disease.
Though poor oral hygiene and lifestyle are certainly contributing causes, some patients are simply more genetically prone to developing gum disease.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Because periodontal disease can be painless, many do not realize they have it. However, recognizing certain signs can help you determine if you need to schedule a consultation with a dentist. Common symptoms of gum disease include:
- Bleeding or swollen gums
- Gum recession
- Chronic bad breath
- Bad taste
- Tooth mobility
- Pus or drainage
Treating Gum Disease with Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing are essentially a form of deep cleaning that takes place below the gumline. The gums are numbed so the clinician can clean this area without causing discomfort.
When you arrive, you will be escorted to one of our comfortable treatment rooms. To make sure you are comfortable throughout the procedure, Dr. Turner will numb the gums with local anesthesia. Your teeth will be cleaned below the gum line and around the base of the tooth using a combination of hand tools and special ultrasonic instruments. This process cleans and levels the uneven surfaces of your teeth, to help prevent plaque and bacteria from attaching to the roots in the future.
Following the procedure, most patients experience little to no discomfort. Some temperature sensitivity may be noticeable for a few days, but this sensation should subside over time.
Schedule a Consultation Today
If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease, schedule an appointment with Dr. Turner to find out if scaling and root planing is the right solution for you. You can call our office at (816) 229-1433 or contact us online.