Gum disease is a fairly common occurrence, and you may hear your dentist refer to it as gingivitis. Some of the early signs that it is happening include bleeding when you brush your teeth, sore gums, and swelling around your gums. Even if your gum disease isn't causing any pain, it's important to treat it quickly before it develops into an infection that's hard to tackle. Here are some of the ways your dental practitioner can do this.
Scale and Polish
Over time, your teeth begin to gather plaque and tartar. As they're acidic, they can gradually wear down your gum tissues and make them more susceptible to bacteria. One way a dentist can treat this is by scaling and polishing your teeth. Scaling and polishing involves using a small tool to scrape away the plaque and tartar. They'll then polish your teeth, which should remove any stain buildup. You may experience some sensitivity, but this subsides shortly after the treatment ends. Alongside helping to treat your gum disease, it's a great way to brighten your smile.
In some cases it's necessary to prescribe medication or mouthwash that will tackle the gum disease. Prescribing mouthwash or a specific type of toothpaste is usually more common than prescribing an antibiotic. Such toothpastes and mouthwashes usually have anti-plaque properties, so they may be recommended following other gum disease treatments. If your dentist does prescribe an antibiotic, make sure you read the patient information leaflet carefully. Some make you more sensitive to sunlight and others are unsafe to take when drinking alcohol.
When gum disease advances to the point that it's affecting the roots of your teeth, root planing is necessary. Some dentists also refer to this treatment as root debridement. After administering a local anaesthetic, the person performing your root debridement will perform a deep clean beneath your gums. The aim of the deep clean is to remove any bacteria that have the potential to cause infections and cavities. You may find that you experience some discomfort in the first 48 hours following the procedure. To address this, take over-the-counter medications such as paracetamol.
After undergoing any treatment for gum disease, it's important to maintain a consistent oral hygiene routine. As well as brushing your teeth twice a day, add in tooth floss and use mouthwash. Always attend your routine dental checkups too, as they're an excellent opportunity to introduce gentle interventions when the early signs of gum disease appear.