Over 75% of Americans have periodontal (gum) disease, but most don’t even know it. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States. While it can’t be reversed, we can arrest gum disease with periodontal treatment in Santa Maria. Treating gum disease now may help you save your teeth in the long run.

What Is Gum Disease?

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is an infection in the tissues surrounding and supporting your teeth, including the gum tissue, the periodontal ligaments, and the bone.

Gum disease is caused by plaque, the sticky film that builds up on your teeth throughout the day. Plaque is full of bacteria, so we want to remove it by brushing twice a day and flossing once daily.

If plaque isn’t removed, it calcifies and turns into a substance called tartar or calculus. When plaque reaches this stage, it is impossible to remove with a toothbrush and floss. The only way to remove tartar is with specialized dental tools.

Because tartar contains bacteria, it causes gum inflammation and infection, similar to how the skin on your hand reacts when you get a sliver. Eventually, the gums start to pull away from the teeth, forming deeper pockets around the teeth, causing more plaque and food debris to get trapped.

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Floss and the bristles of your toothbrush can only reach a few millimeters into your gum pockets. As the pockets get deeper, it’s impossible to clean them thoroughly. Therefore, more plaque turns into tartar and irritates the gum tissue.

The gums will continue to pull away from the teeth, and the bone will also start to do so, leading to loose teeth and eventual tooth loss.

What Can Increase My Risk of
Developing Gum Disease?

Typically, you can reduce your risk of gum disease with good oral hygiene at home and regular visits to your Santa Maria dentist. However, other factors can increase your risk of developing this disease, including:

  • Smoking/chewing
  • Genetic
  • Pregnancy and
    hormonal changes
  • Crowded/crooked teeth
    that are hard to clean

What Are the Signs of
Periodontal Disease?

Warning signs that you might have gum disease include:

  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Gum recession
  • Persistent bad taste
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Teeth shifting, loosening, or separating
  • Changes in your bite
  • Changes in the fit of dental appliances (such as partial dentures)
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What Is the Goal or Purpose of Periodontal Treatments?

The goal of your Santa Maria dentist is to help you keep all your natural teeth for a lifetime. An important way to do this is with regular professional dental cleanings.

If someone doesn’t come in regularly for cleanings, has a predisposition or high-risk factors for gum disease, or doesn’t practice good home care, our next goal is to catch gum disease early.

The first stage of the disease is called gingivitis, and the disease can be reversed at this stage. Periodontal treatments in Santa Maria can help with the reversal and get your gums back into good shape.

Once a patient has passed the gingivitis stage, the disease is no longer reversible. However, it can be arrested with periodontal treatments. If we can arrest the disease, you have a better chance of restoring the health of your gums and preventing tooth loss.

What Type of Periodontal Treatments Are Provided by Santa Barbara Family Dentistry?

The most common periodontal treatment is called scaling and root planing. We perform the procedure in two visits, focusing on one half of the mouth at each visit.

Our hygienist will numb your teeth and gums. Then, they’ll use special instruments – including an ultrasonic scaler – to remove plaque and tartar and clean the gum pockets thoroughly. Then, they’ll smooth the root surfaces to help the gum tissue adhere to the roots again and to make it more difficult for plaque and tartar to build up.

In some cases, your dentist will recommend antibiotic treatment in conjunction with periodontal treatments in Santa Maria, including:

  • Direct placement of antibiotics into the gum pockets
  • Oral antibiotic medication
  • An antimicrobial mouth rinse to use for a few weeks after treatment
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What Happens After Periodontal
Treatments in Santa Maria?

We’ll have you return about four weeks after your last periodontal treatment to evaluate your progress. If things look good, we’ll see you back for your next cleaning. If you’re not improving, we may recommend antibiotics if we haven’t already or a different type of antibiotic to attack different strains of bacteria.

Patients who have had periodontal treatment need to return every three to four months for maintenance cleanings. We’ll evaluate your gum tissue each time you return to see if you need follow-up treatment.

Don’t Wait for a Painful Infection – Contact Us Today!

If it’s been a while since your last cleaning, we urge you to contact us and schedule a cleaning appointment. The earlier we catch and treat gum disease, the better chance we have of maintaining your oral health, preventing painful infections, and saving your teeth.

Are you concerned that you might have gum disease?

We can help! Contact our team to schedule a gum evaluation.