It’s true. You can’t have healthy teeth without healthy gums. As an illustration, you could have the most solid, perfectly built house, but if the foundation isn’t solid, the house isn’t solid. Your gums and the bone surrounding your teeth are what hold your teeth in place and support your teeth during every bite. Gum infection is called Gingivitis, and it can be seen by bleeding during brushing or flossing, tenderness during flossing, redness, and swelling.
When Gingivitis continues for an extended period of time, the inflammation of the gums begins to degrade the attachment of the gums to the teeth and the bone around the teeth. This attachment loss/bone loss is Periodontal disease. When bone is lost due to Periodontal disease, you can’t get it back! What you can heal, however, is the attachment of the gums to the tooth, and you can eliminate the infection.
The best thing is to prevent Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease all together by brushing properly at least twice per day and flossing properly at least once per day (before bed). If you experience bleeding, redness, swelling, tooth mobility, foul odor, or your dentist finds any attachment loss at your regular exam, it’s important to work with your dentist and follow her prescribed treatment quickly to avoid greater complications. There is usually NO PAIN associated with this disease! Periodontal Disease is a progressive disease, which means that without intervention, it will progress until the tooth is lost and the bone level in that area is degraded to a point that makes implants or prosthetic retention extremely difficult.
The first step in treating Periodontal Disease is called Scaling and Root Planing. The affected teeth are numbed for your comfort, then calculus and bacterial bio-film are removed with a combination of ultrasonic, water, hand scalers, antibacterial irrigant, and antibiotics placed within the gum tissue. When treated promptly and proper hygiene is practiced at home, we have excellent results in resolving the infection, preventing tooth loss, and maintaining the existing bone level.
A recent GQ article highlights the importance of proper home dental care, and discusses the importance of gum health.