Gum disease, which can also be called “gingivitis,” “periodontitis,” or “periodontal disease,” is a condition that starts out with mild symptoms that seem relatively benign, but can progress into a serious issue that not only affects your oral health, but also your overall health and wellbeing. At Cannon Dental, we take our Salt Lake City, UT area patients’ health seriously, and offer customized periodontal maintenance plans to help patients achieve and maintain healthy gums.
Gum disease explained
Gum disease is a bacterial infection in your gums. While it may sound simple, it can have a wide array of consequences for your health if left untreated. The infection starts if teeth and gums are not adequately cleaned with regular brushing and flossing. When the sugars and starches from the foods we eat linger on our teeth, a sticky and colorless film called plaque forms. Infection-causing bacteria thrive in plaque, where they produce acidic toxins that irritate and eat away at the gums and surrounding tissues. The initial symptoms of gum disease include:
As gum disease progresses, it continues to erode your gum tissue and the bone that supports your teeth, leading to the formation of spaces called pockets between your teeth and gums. Bacteria and plaque further accumulate in these hard-to-reach spaces, where they can eventually lead to gum recession, loose teeth, and even tooth loss.
Types of periodontal therapies
Each patient’s periodontal treatment plan is different, depending on the stage of gum disease they are in and other factors, such as their overall oral health, other medications they are taking, and their treatment preferences. Based on a comprehensive evaluation of your teeth, gums, and other oral structures, Dr. Cannon may recommend one or more of the following preventive or restorative treatments:
- Home hygiene education: Preventing and treating gum disease starts at home with excellent oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing with the right technique, as well as other measures that help promote the health of your teeth and gums, can go a long way towards helping prevent gum disease and restoring your gums to health if it has already developed.
- Routine professional cleanings: At professional dental cleanings, we remove built-up plaque and tartar that brushing and flossing at home may not have eliminated; this provides a “clean slate” so the disease-causing bacteria have less of a breeding ground to multiply and cause damage. In addition, Dr. Cannon performs a thorough exam at each appointment to identify whether targeted treatments are necessary for your gum health.
- Deep teeth cleanings: also called scaling and root planing, this treatment is used to clean bacteria, plaque, and other debris out of the “pockets” that form beneath the gumline in more advanced stages of gum disease. Using specialized instruments after you have been numbed in the treatment area, we gently clean out these disease-causing substances from the pockets and then smooth the surface of the tooth roots so your gums and teeth can re-adhere and form a protective seal against future infection.
If gum disease has led to issues such as gum recession or tooth loss, Dr. Cannon will work with you to identify the best ways of restoring the health and function to your teeth and gums. We offer beautiful, natural-looking tooth restoration options such as dental implants, bridges, and dental crowns to help restore both the function and appearance of your smile.
Schedule your appointment at Cannon Dental today by calling (801) 406-9985!