Happy National Dental Hygiene Month! Periodontal Disease Basics

Did you know that October is National Dental Hygiene Month? Our amazing Hygienists are always striving to better serve their patients. October is a time to help us raise awareness about the importance of good oral health. It also helps celebrate the important work they do on a daily basis. We are so fortunate to have 4 wonderful hygienists that put our patients at ease and encourage them to work toward a healthier smile. National Dental Hygiene month is the perfect time to teach the basics of periodontal disease. Read on to learn more about the disease your hygienist is working hard to treat and prevent every day.

The Disease

It begins with gingivitis. This is a mild form of gum disease that looks like red, swollen and bleeding gums. A build-up of plaque (which contains bacteria) on the teeth causes gingivitis. It is reversible. With regular dental cleanings and good oral home care you can prevent gingivitis from getting worse. Periodontal disease or periodontitis is the next step of untreated gingivitis. When plaque is left on your teeth, over time your body’s inflammatory response starts to do permenant damage. The gums begin to form deeper pockets, becoming harder to clean and more buildup occurs below the gumline. Without treatment, the cycle continues and destroys more gum tissue and bone. Once you lose bone, your body can’t regenerate it. As you can imagine this leads to loose teeth and eventually tooth loss.

Treatment

Your hygienist’s main focus is to prevent and treat periodontal disease. Treatment for periodontal disease starts with gum therapy. also referred to as “deep cleanings” or “scaling and root planing.” This entails the use of anesthetic and specialized instruments to reach and adapt below the gumline to remove the tartar and plaque buildup at the depths of the pockets. If your hygienist determines your gum disease is advanced to a point that a specialist (Periodontist) would best serve you, our office will offer you a referral.

Post-Treatment

After a specialist treats the disease, good home care is essential. Your hygienist will discuss the best tools for you based on your individual needs. They will also likely recommend a more frequent cleaning schedule. Many people are unaware that experts recommend the 6 month cleaning frequency for those with a healthier mouth. The goal is to prevent periodontal disease at these visits. A 3-4 month recall is appropriate for anyone that has undergone treatment for gum disease. The more frequent cleanings help keep your gums stable and the disease under control.

 

I would like to thank our amazing team of dental hygienists. Amanda, Candice, Cathy and Vanessa work very hard to keep all of us healthy. As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask them. If you’re ready to begin your journey to a healthy smile, call us today at 719-475-2511 to make an appointment!

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