Gum disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting your teeth. It develops when dental plaque accumulates along your gumline, causing your gums to become inflamed. This early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. Left untreated, gingivitis can progress to inflammation deeper in the gums and destruction of the bone surrounding the teeth. This more advanced gum infection is called periodontitis.
What causes gum disease?
Plaque buildup is the primary cause of gum disease. Dental plaque is white and sticky and is made up of bacteria, proteins and saliva. If dental plaque isn’t removed each day by brushing and flossing it hardens, creating tartar or calculus, which causes more severe inflammation in the gum tissue. Left untreated, this inflammation can cause your immune system to initiate a process which resorbs, or melts away the bone surrounding the teeth. This can lead to severe infection, pain and swelling and even tooth loss.
Can gum disease affect my overall health?
Yes. People with gum disease may be more likely to develop heart disease or have difficulty controlling their blood sugar, and pregnant women with gum disease are more likely to deliver preterm, low birth-weight babies.
How is gum disease treated?
To treat gum disease the hygienist will remove tartar under the gumline. This is accomplished through a specialized deep cleaning procedure, called Scaling and Root Planing. Scaling and Root Planing will be completed while the area is numb so you will be totally comfortable throughout the visit. Once numb, the hygienist will carefully remove tartar using specialized instruments and may disinfect the gum pockets using a laser. She will also give you individualized home care instructions to ensure the areas remain clean and can heal optimally. After 4-6 weeks, the hygienist will reassess your gum tissue to make sure satisfactory improvements to gum health have occurred. In more advanced cases of periodontal disease, further surgical therapy may be recommended.
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Omaha, NE 68130
Phone: (402) 397-6453
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