What Is Gum Disease?
The bacteria that live in your mouth can cause cavities, but they can also cause gum disease. Saliva can kill these bacteria, but they band together in films called plaque for protection. As colonies of bacteria collect in the pockets around your teeth, the acid they excrete damages your gums as well as your teeth. This enlarges the pocket, providing shelter for more bacteria. Above the pocket, calcified bacteria deposits, known as tartar, provide additional protection.
The acid excreted by larger colonies of bacteria not only damages your gums, but they can also damage your tooth root and even your jawbone, resulting in loose teeth and, eventually, tooth loss. And if you lose teeth to gum disease, you may not be able to receive the best tooth replacement option, dental implants.
Gum disease is a danger not just to your teeth, but to your overall health. It has associations with other health conditions, such as:
- Heart disease
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
In addition, gum disease increases your body’s overall bacteria load, which can make it harder for your body to fight off other diseases or infections. You may experience more colds and be more susceptible to food poisoning than other people. You may also be more likely to get acne or infected ingrown hairs.
Promoting Healthy Gums
The best way to prevent gum disease is by performing your daily oral hygiene: brushing and flossing. Dr. Scott L. Rice may also recommend that you use an antibacterial rinse. You should also visit our office every six months for preventative dental care.
We can test the DNA of bacteria in your mouth to determine how much bacteria you have that can cause minor gingivitis or more serious gum disease. We can also determine whether you are genetically more susceptible to serious forms of gum disease and test you for oral and throat cancer risk.
What Is Periodontal Therapy?
Periodontal therapy is another name for gum disease treatment. If the condition has progressed to the point that it threatens your teeth, immediate action is necessary. We will clean out the bacteria in the pockets around your teeth and sterilize them to prevent bacteria’s return. We use a completely nonsurgical treatment for your comfort. We use microsonics to clean away the hardened plaque, so there’s no scraping. We also use a laser to clean out the pockets, removing bacteria and infected tissue. We then place Arestin® periodontal therapy microspheres in the pocket. These microspheres release antibiotics over time, exactly where you need it, killing periodontal bacteria and helping your gums to heal.