San Antonio, Texas
When your gums and teeth are not kept clean and free of plaque, gingivitis will develop – the first stage of gum disease. If left untreated it will progress to periodontitis, the second and more severe stage.
Gum disease can cause tooth loss, bone loss and infections or other health problems elsewhere in the body. In particular, it has been linked to heart disease!
- Plaque is that sticky film which builds up during the day on your teeth and can be felt with the tongue. Unless it is frequently removed it will harden into tartar, which can only be removed by a dental hygienist using special instruments. Typically you will know if you have tartar because your gums will bleed when you brush.
- With gingivitis, acid and infection develops and the bacteria can multiply, leaving even more acid excretions on the teeth and gums. This is the vicious cycle of gum disease. Acid eats into tooth enamel. Tooth decay will spread from the enamel to the tooth’s interior, into the gums, and eventually into the jawbone. As soon as gums start to bleed, bacteria can enter the bloodstream and travel to other parts of the body.
Gum disease can be mostly avoided with regular flossing and brushing, but this is not a guarantee against it. It is important to have your teeth and gums regularly checked and professionally cleaned.
Part of early gum disease is plaque build-up below the gum-line. Scaling uses special instruments to remove this plaque. If it is left there it will cause the gums to move away from the tooth surfaces, creating pockets where bacteria can breed and thrive. To make sure that you are completely comfortable, we will numb the area with a topical anesthetic.
Root planing is almost always performed in conjunction with scaling. It smooths the tooth surfaces, enabling the gum tissue to heal and reattach itself to the tooth.
If you have noticed your gums bleeding, you probably have gingivitis. If you have some severe tooth decay, dental crowns can prolong the tooth’s life and give it a new set of surfaces. If you have lost some teeth, a dental bridge can replace them, and this should be done as soon as possible to preserve your dental health.
The best thing to prevent gum disease is daily brushing and flossing plus regular check-ups and professional cleaning. Please contact our dental office today to schedule a personal consultation with Dr. Hale.