A dentist examines more than most patients realize. A proper dental exam not only checks the status of your teeth but also the health of your gums; this check of your oral health is called “periodontal care” and is a vital component of a dental exam to ensure good oral health. Brushing and flossing alone, although important, is not enough to maintain a healthy mouth. The assessment and care of your gums is a crucial part of a visit to the dentist. Here at Ranches Family Dental, we provide a comprehensive evaluation, including periodontal care, to help spot and treat any gum disease that we find.
What does Periodontal Care Mean for Me?
A surprising amount of people have gum disease, with around 50% of adult Americans suffering from it. This highly common condition ranges from the mild and wholly reversible gingivitis to advanced and more severe periodontitis.
If caught early, gum disease is curable and won’t leave any lasting negative effects on your teeth or gums. However, periodontitis is regarded as a chronic illness and will need lifetime maintenance to help control the symptoms and prevent it from worsening and progressing.
Gingivitis is often painless, often going undetected by our patients. Regular checkups can help stop it in its tracks. Its myriad of symptoms include:
A metallic or sour taste in your mouth
Blood in your spit when you brush and floss
Gums that are red and swollen
A receding gumline
Taking the time to brush your teeth twice a day, using a soft-bristled toothbrush, can not only prevent your gum disease but can also cure it (if caught early enough). Make sure you brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle to help get up under your gumline and follow your brushing with dental floss.
Use an 18-inch length of floss and, holding your floss in a C-shape, sweep the floss under your gums. For each tooth, use a clean and fresh segment of floss. Antibacterial mouthwash can also help. If you’re adverse to the stinging associated with mouthwash, you can reach for one that does not have alcohol in it.
If your gum disease has progressed beyond gingivitis, you may require medical intervention from us to help stop it and treat it. We might start by taking x-rays to better see any possible tooth decay or other problems. Antibiotics may be required to remove any active infection in your mouth. We may also advise a deep cleaning, also known as a scaling and root planing. This removes any calculus (hardened buildup) from your gumline and smooths your tooth root down, giving your gums a chance to heal and reattach to your teeth. If you have an infection or abscess inside your tooth, we may need to perform a root canal and crown on your tooth.
It’s important to know that taking good care of your teeth and gums isn’t just a cosmetic consideration. Good oral hygiene and routine dental appointments can not only preserve your smile, but it can also prevent gum disease from causing lasting harm to your body. Heart attack, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and even death are associated with untreated periodontitis.
If you believe that you have gum disease, or if it’s been longer than six months since your last dental checkup, please give us a call here at Ranches Family Dental at (385) 374-0500 to schedule your appointment for a cleaning and periodontal wellness exam.