Practicing good oral hygiene includes not only caring for your teeth, but your gums and tooth-supporting bones, as well. When there is a lapse in dental care, gum disease can occur. The build up of tartar and plaque causes a bacterial infection, which can also spread to the bones supporting your teeth. Gum disease can also be a result of smoking, chronic illnesses such as diabetes, or certain medications. In severe cases, tooth loss can occur.
There are various periodontal therapies, surgical and non-surgical, that can help restore the damaged gum and bones. They include:
- Scaling and Root Planing: A deep cleaning method that involves removing plaque and tartar from beneath the gum tissue.
- Gum Grafting: Healthy gum tissue is removed from one area of the mouth and placed over areas where there is tooth loss so as to protect the tooth root.
- Laser Therapy: A dental laser is used to remove the damaged gum, and then root scaling removes plaque and tartar from the exposed root.
- Periodontal Plastic Surgery: The surgery involves reshaping the appearance of the gum, and can also be part of treatments such as crowns, bridges and implants.
While periodontal therapies can be a solution to gum disease, its best to avoid having to go through these procedures. Brushing and flossing twice a day and regular six month checkups with your dentist will help you avoid the need for periodontal therapies. Ask your dentist about proper at home care if you have any concerns.