In a healthy mouth, gums fit securely around each tooth. The maximum distance between the gum tissue and its attachment to the tooth should be no more than three millimeters. People who have periodontal disease, however, tend to develop deep pockets around their teeth. In the long run, these pockets cause numerous problems, including tooth loss. Treatment of periodontal pockets through a deep cleaning is the best way to reverse or at least stop gum disease in its tracks.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is essentially a long-term infection of the gums that is linked directly to poor oral hygiene. When you don’t brush or floss regularly, you allow bacteria to rest in between your teeth and cause decay.
Gum disease starts with inflamed gums and progresses to further decay, tooth loss, and even bone loss.
How do periodontal pockets form?
Bacteria form a sticky plaque that can only be removed through brushing and flossing. When a person allows the plaque to sit in their mouth it hardens and turns into tartar. This can only be removed through a professional cleaning.
As the bacteria in your mouth continue to colonize they release toxins that cause inflammation. Your gums will start to bleed and swell. Over time, your gums pull away from your teeth and pockets begin to form.
Unfortunately, these pockets cause even more problems because they’re the perfect place for food to get stuck and for bacteria to continue to multiply and feed off of plaque. The deeper your pockets the more threatened your tooth and surrounding ligaments and tissues are.
Are there certain things that put me at risk for developing periodontal disease?
Your lifestyle is tied heavily to whether you develop periodontal disease or not. People who don’t brush or floss regularly, eat a diet high in sugars and processed foods, and smoke and drink are much more likely to develop the disease than those who do not engage in these high-risk behaviors.
What are deep cleanings?
A deep cleaning is the first step toward getting your mouth on a path toward better health. During a deep cleaning – scaling and root planing – the tartar and plaque is removed from your teeth and the gums. Because of bacterial colonies building up in your mouth the dentin on your teeth will need to be scaled away as well.
Patients who have not lost any bone can usually go home after the procedure and maintain the results through twice daily brushing, daily flossing, and coming back for regular visits.
If a patient has remaining pockets a surgery may be required to stabilize your tooth and the surrounding tissues. Dr. Gonzalez will determine whether you need additional treatment.