Periodontics is a field of dentistry that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal (gum) disease. Periodontal disease occurs when bacteria that normally reside in the mouth grow and form plaque on the surface of the teeth. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to serious health conditions such as infections, tooth loss, and gum tissue damage. There are studies that indicate periodontal disease can increase risks of heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and other systemic issues.
The primary goal of periodontal treatment is to reduce periodontal pocket depths, remove plaque and calculus (tartar), eliminate bacterial toxins from periodontal pockets, and restore periodontal health. Treatment options vary depending on the severity of periodontal disease and may include scaling, root planing, antibiotics, or periodontal surgery.
Scaling is a procedure which removes plaque and tartar from both above and below the gum line. Root planing smoothes any rough spots on your tooth roots where bacteria tend to gather. Antibiotics can be prescribed to fight bacterial infection within periodontal pockets or used topically in an irrigant during scaling or periodontal surgery. Periodontal surgery is used to reduce pocket depths or repair any damaged tissues caused by periodontitis.
In addition to periodontal treatments mentioned above, there are also preventive measures you can take at home to help maintain healthy gums and prevent periodontitis:
- Brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste
- Floss once daily
- Visit Fox Valley Family Dentistry regularly for routine exams
- Avoid smoking as it increases your risk for developing periodontitis
- Eat healthy foods low in sugar while emphasizing fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
By following these simple steps plus getting regular professional care from your dentist or periodontist, you can help keep your mouth healthy and avoid the damaging symptoms associated with periodontitis such as bleeding gums, swollen gums, bad breath, loose teeth, painful chewing problems etc. Dr. Shawn Michael Fox and our oral hygiene team will assess your oral health at every appointment and provide a personalized treatment plan if needed.