Periodontal Care is Essential to Great Overall Health

An elderly couple sitting outside on a porch, smiling.Even though your gums might not quickly come to mind when you consider your overall health, periodontal care is essential to your oral and systemic health. Left untreated, gum disease can lead to pain, bleeding, the spread of infection, and eventually, tooth loss. It can also increase your risk of developing serious health conditions, like heart disease. Dr. Wesley O. Lynch provides a full spectrum of periodontal treatment to help his patients achieve and maintain good gum health, avoiding bothersome symptoms and potentially costly restorative treatments in the future. To learn more about periodontal care, contact Dr. Weston's Ruston, LA office today.

Understanding the Stages of Gum Disease

Plaque is a sticky film that contains millions of bacteria. This bacteria consumes sugars in the foods we eat, and can produce acids that cause tooth decay and infection. While plaque above your gum line can be removed through daily brushing, flossing, and regular professional cleanings, plaque below the gum line will eventually develop into gum disease.

Gingivitis

The first stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. In this stage, your gums may become red or swollen, and might bleed when you brush, floss, or eat hard foods. Your gums may look puffy and you may develop bad breath. Generally, gingivitis does not result in pain, which means many patients ignore its symptoms. Gingivitis typically results from poor oral hygiene and is easily combatted with regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing. Left untreated, gingivitis will develop into periodontitis.

Periodontitis

Periodontitis develops when plaque beneath the gum line begins to spread, where it produces toxins that irritate your gums. In response to these toxins, your gums will become inflamed and begin to break down. Pockets will begin to form along and below your gum line, pulling your gums away from your teeth.

Advanced Periodontitis

Advanced periodontitis is marked by the size and depth of the pockets that have developed below your gum line. During advanced periodontitis, toxins will begin to break down not only your gums, but also your teeth, jaw bone, and the structures that hold your teeth in place. 

Periodontal Treatment

To treat periodontitis, Dr. Lynch recommends deep cleaning treatments. Also known as scaling and root planing, this procedure is designed to eradicate bacteria beneath the gum line and help prevent plaque from developing there in the future. During treatment, Dr. Lynch will carefully scrape plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) from each tooth and clean the gingival pockets to destroy bacteria there. He will also carefully smooth each tooth's surface below the gum line, which makes it more difficult for plaque to adhere.

If scaling and root planing are not sufficient to treat advanced gum disease, Dr. Lynch may recommend patients see a periodontist for surgical treatment. This option is usually only necessary in the most severe cases that can lead to tooth loss.

Schedule an Appointment

If you have already lost teeth or require extractions due to gum disease, Dr. Lynch provides a full spectrum of restorative treatments, including implant-supported restorations. To learn more about the importance of periodontal care and our available treatment options, contact us and schedule an appointment today.

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