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Periodontal Maintenance for Gum Disease: Here’s What You Can Expect

When left untreated, gum disease can be a devastating oral health condition. Early-stage periodontitis can lead to swelling and mild discomfort; however, as the disease progresses, it can cause all sorts of complicated oral health problems. Gum disease can even start to impact your overall health too. The chronic inflammation caused by gum disease has been linked to heart disease, dementia, and several other health problems. All that is to say treating this issue as quickly and efficiently as possible is so important, but many patients don’t know where to start or what to expect.

If you’re suffering from gum disease, don’t delay treatment due to fear or anxiety. From diagnosis to treatment to long-term maintenance, we’ll tell you everything you need to know so you can plan ahead.

Diagnosing Gum Disease

Signs of gum disease can be easy to identify. If you notice any of the following symptoms, then you’ll want to see your dentist right away:

  • Swollen, puffy, or tender gums
  • Bleeding when brushing teeth or flossing (spitting blood or blood on toothbrush)
  • Pain or soreness when chewing
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Bad breath that doesn’t go away
  • Gums that are beginning to pull away from your teeth

Your dentist will conduct a thorough examination to determine the severity of the disease. He or she may also try to resolve the gum disease through regular dental cleaning. If it’s not effective or if the disease has progressed to a moderate or severe stage, then a referral to a periodontist will be made.

Treating Gum Disease

During your first visit to the periodontist, you’ll be asked to complete some forms and provide a thorough review of your health history. Another exam of your gums will be done to help your periodontist determine the best treatment options.

Scaling & root planing is usually one of the first tactics deployed to combat gum disease. You can think of it like a “deep cleaning” of your teeth and gums. It allows dental professionals to eliminate bacteria and plaque from areas that regular dental hygienists can’t reach, such as the pockets beneath the gum line.

  • Scaling – This process involves a tool with a vibrating metal end known as an ultrasonic scaler which is used to scrape the plaque and tartar from the surface of the tooth.
  • Root Planing – Where scaling occurs above the gumline, root planing takes place below it. A special tool will be used to gently push aside your gum tissue, so the roots of your teeth can be cleaned too. Afterward, the surface of your teeth will be smooth, which will encourage the gum tissue to reattach to it.

Your provider will carefully perform scaling & root planing to eliminate bacteria around the most infected areas. While the procedure might sound uncomfortable, you will receive a local anesthetic beforehand, so you shouldn’t feel any discomfort.

Scaling and root planing are highly effective, and you can expect to see results within a day or two. You may also have some pain, swelling, or light bleeding, which should subside in a week. Be sure to stick to soft foods and avoid smoking or drinking alcohol while healing.

If your gum disease is severe or you’re experiencing complications, your provider may recommend some additional treatments in conjunction with scaling and root planing. One of these treatments might be Laser Periodontal Treatment (LANAP), which is an easy, effective, and less-invasive option.

Periodontal Maintenance

Unfortunately treating gum disease isn’t a one-and-done effort. If you want to prevent bacteria from redeveloping underneath the gums, you’ll need to return for additional cleaning and maintenance. These appointments might be as simple as a routine dental cleaning or may require periodic scaling and root planing. Your dental professional will create a custom treatment plan based on your unique condition. As conditions improve, the cadence of the appointments may decrease over time.

Periodontal maintenance doesn’t just require you to come back for additional appointments, you will also need to make some lifestyle changes. Regularly brushing and flossing twice each day is essential and you may also be prescribed a special mouthwash to help too.

Because periodontal maintenance is an investment and takes time, choosing an experienced periodontist who makes you feel comfortable is so important. This is why Central Florida patients choose Dr. Stuart Beauchamp at Ormond Beach Periodontics for treatment. Our award-winning practice has been helping patients overcome gum disease for many years, and we’d be happy to help you too. Schedule your appointment today.

Located in Beautiful Ormond Beach

Ormond Beach Periodontics and Implant Dentistry is conveniently located off of Nova Road in Ormond Beach, Florida. We help seniors, adults, and teenagers smile with confidence.