Maintaining good oral health requires that you pay attention to more than your teeth. Your periodontal – or gum – health plays an important role in oral and systemic health.

Our Augusta dentists offer scaling and root planing procedures to patients who require more frequent and in-depth cleanings of the areas below the gum line. This procedure enables our dentists to carefully clean your teeth’s root surfaces to remove tartar and plaque buildup that accumulates below the gum line when you have deep periodontal pockets. We may follow this cleaning procedure with antimicrobial therapy to inhibit bacterial growth.

Scaling and root planing is an important treatment for patients battling gum disease, because this disease is never eliminated. However, it can be controlled with diligent home and professional care.

Untreated periodontal disease can lead to gum recession, jawbone degeneration and eventual tooth loss. There also are numerous studies that draw a correlation between periodontal disease and heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other systemic conditions.

The American Academy of Periodontology identifies the following as signs that you may have periodontal disease:

  • Red, swollen or tender gums or other pain in your mouth
  • Bleeding while brushing, flossing or eating hard food
  • Receding gums that cause your teeth to look longer than before
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Pus between your gums and teeth
  • Sores in your mouth
  • Chronic bad breath
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • A change in the fit of partial dentures

While plaque buildup beneath the gums is the leading cause of periodontal disease, there are other risk factors that can make you more susceptible to the disease, such as:

  • Use of tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco
  • Stress
  • Certain medications that cause a decrease in saliva production
  • Tooth grinding or clenching in your sleep
  • Improper nutrition
  • Obesity

Some people are genetically predisposed to periodontal disease. Age also seems to usher in periodontal disease, as data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that more than 70 percent of Americans ages 65 and older have periodontitis.

Patients who have lost their teeth due to periodontal disease might be candidates for dental implants to help restore function to their bite. Once all teeth are lost, this sends a signal to the jawbone that its work is done and the bone begins to degenerate. Dental implants serve the role of tooth roots and disrupt that message. Dental implants restored with porcelain crowns are the next best thing to natural teeth.

Please call our office today if you wish to schedule an appointment to discuss your gum health and explore treatment options.