Periodontal Therapy: how to take care of your gums (and why you want to)
Gum care is an essential yet often overlooked aspect of oral hygiene and dental health. Education about periodontal care is one of the many important roles of the oral hygienists at NEESH in downtown Saskatoon. They’ll tell you day in and day out that your gum tissue plays an important role in your overall oral health because it supports, protects, and helps hold your teeth in place. The health of your gums is directly linked to the health of your teeth and your entire body, making periodontal care and therapy integral to overall health.
We can’t ignore periodontal care and expect to have healthy teeth
We see many patients who are not aware of the important role of their gums in oral health. Just like the conditions in the garden determine the health of the plants that grow there, the overall health of your mouth directly influences the health of your teeth. When it comes to overall oral health, the condition of your gums is just as important as the condition of your teeth—that’s why the role of the oral hygienist is so important.
The mighty role of the oral hygienist in gum care
If the dentist is a specialist in teeth, then the oral hygienist is a specialist in periodontal care, which is essential to dental health. The oral hygienists at NEESH address the prevention and care of all the tissues surrounding the teeth including the gums, lips,and tongue. They will assess the overall condition of your oral health, screen for oral cancer, and conduct periodontal therapy.
Adult Dental Anxiety: what causes it?
The truth is, there are a number of reasons why many of us experience anxiety when visiting the dentist. Many of us carry dental anxiety from childhood, but other reasons can also factor into our fear of the dental chair, such as:
- Negative experiences
- Loss of control
- Fear of anesthesia
- Trust issues
- Fear of injections
- Fear of the sounds of the drills and other tools
- Fear of being too close to others
What is gingivitis and how is it different from advanced gum disease?
Gingivitis is a very common and preventable bacterial infection of the gums. Most patients who develop gingivitis are unaware, as it often occurs with subtle or no symptoms. If left unchecked, gingivitis can develop into early periodontal disease, which may require Initial Periodontal Therapy (see below). IPT, as well as periodontal surgery or root canal therapy can all be avoided with good prevention and periodontal care with the support and guidance of your oral hygienist.
To learn about the signs and stages of gum disease, including prevention and treatment of gingivitis, read our blog Gum Disease and The Importance of Periodontal Care.
How is gingivitis treated?
As with most oral health conditions, when discovered early gingivitis is easier to treat and comes with less risk of bigger problems. Most cases of gingivitis can be resolved with a little extra dedication to good oral hygiene and minor adjustments to your diet to reduce exposure to sugar and acid. For more advanced cases of gingivitis or early periodontal disease, a patient might need Initial Periodontal Therapy.
Avoid root canal therapy and oral surgery for periodontitis with Initial Periodontal Therapy at NEESH Dental
Initial Periodontal Therapy is conducted by the oral hygienist team. The treatment consists of non-surgical deep-cleaning to remove infection from beneath the gum tissue adjacent to the teeth. Local anesthesia is typically used to numb the area for the patient’s comfort during Initial Periodontal Therapy. Depending on the severity, may require more than one appointment.
Scaling removes the buildup of plaque bacteria, calculus, and food debris that accumulate in infected pockets beneath the gum line.
Root planing cleans the root of the tooth and smoothes it to remove bacterial toxins and encourage healing of the gum tissue next to the tooth.
In most cases, patients with early periodontitis can avoid surgical intervention with early IPT. Patients with advanced gum disease will likely need surgical care to correct the damage, but the extent of surgical intervention can be reduced by first receiving IPT.
Gum health assesment at your regular check-up
How are your gums doing? Our team of hygienists can tell you during your routine checkup at our downtown Saskatoon clinic. When you visit the dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings – optimally every 6 months – early cases of gingivitis can always be caught before they have a chance to develop into gum disease. Book your appointment now.