We worry constantly about the health of our teeth, but the health of the gums that support our teeth is just as important. The soft tissue of our gums is delicate and absolutely vital to the health of our teeth – not to mention the health of our whole bodies. Still, millions of people struggle with varying stages of gum disease. Frisco dentist Kyle Walkington provides periodontal care to patients every day, and can recommend the best treatment for gum disease at every level.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gums, caused by the same bacteria and plaque and tartar buildup that leads to tooth decay and cavities. Gum disease exists at two different levels:
- Gingivitis – This is the more mild form of gum disease, characterized mostly by red and inflamed gums that may be tender and bleed when irritated. In most cases, gingivitis can be managed and reversed through the maintenance of good daily dental hygiene and routine dental cleanings every six months.
- Periodontitis – This is the more advanced form of gum disease that occurs when gingivitis goes untreated. Periodontal disease is characterized by the same redness and inflammation along with gums that have begun to recede from the teeth, creating pockets where bacteria can grow and thrive.
What Are the Best Treatment Options for Gum Disease?
While mild cases of gingivitis can often be treated with better dental hygiene and routine check-ups, more advanced cases of gum disease often require more intensive treatment. The first line of defense in this case is a technique called scaling and root planing.
Also known as a deep cleaning, scaling and root planing involves the use of special tools to clean beneath the gum line. During this treatment, your dentist will numb your gums and teeth with a local anesthetic, then scrape away plaque and tartar underneath the gum line (scaling) and polish away any rough tooth surfaces to give bacteria less space on which to grow (planing).
Non-surgical treatments like root planing and scaling are more aggressive and take a longer amount of time than a basic routine tooth cleaning. This can be stressful for some patients and even cause some to delay necessary treatment. To counter this stress, we offer several options for sedation dentistry, including nitrous oxide and prescribed medicine for oral conscious sedation. These techniques can help you feel relaxed and at ease during your treatment.
In addition to scaling and root planing, your dentist may recommend surgical treatments such as flap and pocket reduction surgery to tighten and improve your gums. In cases of severe advanced gum disease, bone or tissue grafts may be needed to replace tissue that has receded and been lost to periodontitis.
Schedule an Appointment to Learn More Today
Gum disease can be persistent, long lasting, and damaging in the long run. But it is treatable, and our experienced team at Wildflower Dental & Orthodontics can help. Contact Dr. Kyle Walkington at Wildflower Dental & Orthodontics today to schedule a consultation and learn more about restoring your teeth and gums to a state of good health.