Periodontal Disease - Part 2
Part 2 of the news letter
In our previous newsletter, we have cited many scientific studies to show the link between gum infection and systemic diseases. In this newsletter we will discuss the Treatment, Perio Maintenance, and Prevention of Gum Infection.
Treatment of Gum infection
The primary goal of periodontal treatment is to clear infection from the gum and teeth. Periodontal infection is a chronic and non-curable bacterial infection. The traditional deep cleaning technique tries to clean the pockets forming between the gum and teeth due to infection. This method had been working very well but also had its limitation.
One thing one must understand is that infected periodontal pockets have two walls: teeth side and bone - gum side. The deep cleaning treatment utilizes scalers to physically scale and clean the teeth side of the infected pocket. However, bacteria has also penetrated and destroyed the gum and bones surrounding the infected teeth. Adjunct treatments such as medication and laser help to reduce and remove infection in the gum and bone side. The idea here is to create two clean sides (tooth side and gum side) to ensure no bacteria is trapped in the healing phase.
What is the difference between perio maintenance and a regular cleaning? Why do I need to have cleanings more often (every 3-4 months)? These are questions that are routinely asked by our patients. The perio maintenance program is designed to help patients with a history of gum infection. The general rule is, if you already have a history of gum infection, which causes the change of bone level supporting your teeth, then you need to get cleanings more often.
During routine home care with the proper cleaning technique, patients can clean up to 3 mm below the gum line. If you had gum infection in the past, most like you would have some areas of the gum that are deeper than 3 mm due to the history of bone loss. These areas need to be cleaned out by the hygienist with special tools. Cleanings every 3-4 months are required in these cases to prevent infection from starting again. Just imagine you have areas in your mouth with food stuck in there and rotten out for 3 months. Since you cannot clean past 3mm depth of gum, the hygienist has to do that for you every 3-4 months.
For regular cleanings, a patients gum depth is less than 3mm, there’s no bleeding, and can maintain an excellent hygiene routine at home.
Prevention of gum infection
Promptly removing foods in between your teeth is the goal of brushing and flossing to help in preventing gum infection. How often one should brush and floss really depends on how often one eats in a day. Routine dental care with your dentist and hygienist is the must. Our body is a very sophisticated machine; however, just like our car, we need tune-ups regularly to keep our body functioning properly for many years to come.