Gum disease can creep up on you and cause significant damage before you realize you have it. This is one reason your annual dental checkups and professional cleanings are so important. In the earliest stages, gingivitis is easily defeated with a thorough cleaning, removal of plaque buildup and special mouthwash and/or toothpaste if necessary.
When gingivitis has been diagnosed, the first step of treatment is removing the hardened tartar around the teeth. When plaque builds up and hardens, it cannot be removed by brushing or flossing. It needs to be scraped off the teeth or shattered using special dental tools designed for this purpose.
Scalers are hand-held instruments with a hook on the end used for scraping off tartar. Ultrasonic scalers are also used to break up or shatter the hardened substance, especially when the deposits are heavy. These air-driven tools are very efficient and decrease treatment time. They also provide deep cleaning with less trauma to the soft tissues. The water put out by the ultrasonic devices continually bathes the working area, which reduces the necessity for constant rinsing and provides better visibility for the dentist, so the procedure is completed faster.
Symptoms and Causes of Periodontal Disease
The normal healthy color of your gums depend on the amount of melanin in your skin. Lighter skinned people tend to have pink gums. People with darker skin have more melanin and therefore their gums may be dark, even dark brown or black. A change in the color or condition of your gums may indicate the presence of gum disease. Keep in mind that some diseases such as ulcerative gingivitis can also cause black or grey gums.
Bright red, swollen and/or bleeding gums are indicative of gingivitis or periodontal disease. If your gums bleed when brushing or flossing, it is important to see your dentist. Left untreated, simple, treatable gum disease can develop into a serious infection and lead to tooth loss.
Gum disease is most often caused by poor oral hygiene. Lack of sufficient brushing and flossing allows plaque to build up. Tartar then forms, pushing the gums away from the teeth and creating pockets where food debris and bacteria combine to produce infection.
Gingivitis can also be caused by medication and some medical conditions. Some females may also experience gingivitis as a result of hormonal changes.
Any changes in your gums should be brought to the attention of your dentist. Early treatment of gum disease is usually successful and requires minimal intervention, whereas neglecting the problem can lead to the need for more invasive treatment. We will help you keep your gums and teeth healthy at Engineered Smiles. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to address problems you may have with your teeth or gums.