What do you think is the most common dental problem in the entire world? If you guessed “cavities,” you’re close, but it’s still only #2! Periodontal disease is believed to affect about 80% of the population worldwide, and the CDC estimates that about 50% of adults in the U.S. currently have a mild to moderate form of it. Early symptoms include red, swollen, and puffy gums that tend to bleed easily while brushing, but it can eventually develop into painful sores in the mouth and cause tooth loss.
Fortunately, at Independence Dental, we always keep an eye out for the early signs of periodontal disease so our patients never have to worry about the health and appearance of their smiles. If any of the symptoms we touched on above sound familiar, be sure to contact us today so we can provide the solutions you need.
If we’re able to catch periodontal disease early enough, we can often get the infection under control using a treatment called scaling and root planing. You can think of it as a dental cleaning that is specifically focused on the gum line and roots of the teeth.
First, a member of our team will use an ultrasonic cleaner to remove plaque and tartar deposits from below the gum line (scaling), and then the roots of the teeth will be gently smoothed out (root planing). Why do we do this? Because it makes it much harder for plaque and bacteria to gather along the gums in the future, lowering a patient’s chances of reinfection.
After a scaling and root planing treatment, Dr. Ulasik may choose to apply Arestin (Minocyline HCl, 1mg) to the gums in order to eliminate bacteria that is still hidden deep beneath the gum line. Arestin looks like a powder, but it is actually made up of thousands of tiny microspheres, each one filled with a powerful antimicrobial agent. On the gums, these spheres will slowly dissolve over the course of a week, enabling the medicine to kill any remaining bacteria.
How often do you see dentist after you had deep cleaning? In 4 to 6 weeks, we re-evaluate gums and see areas which need to be improved more. After a deep cleaning, it is recommended you have a periodontal maintenance appointment every 3 months. These deep cleanings may involve scaling and root planing, a thorough cleaning of the gumline to remove plaque and calculus, and use of antibiotic medication placed in the gum pockets to promote healing and reduce discomfort.