Periodontitis is a gum infection that’s part of gum disease (also called periodontal disease). Periodontitis can cause significant damage to the gums and even your jawbone if left untreated. Although this condition is fairly common, it’s also preventable! You can prevent gum disease and periodontitis simply by taking good care of your teeth and gums and getting regular checkups with your dentist. Periodontitis can lead to tooth loss and is even a risk factor for heart disease—so getting this condition treated is important. How does periodontitis happen and what non-surgical treatment is available?
How Periodontitis Affects the Mouth
When you have periodontitis, bacteria slip underneath your gumline and create pockets where an infection is left to damage your gums, the ligaments that help hold your teeth securely in your mouth, and can even lead to tooth loss. You likely have red or irritated gums that are painful when periodontitis is present. The bacteria that cause gum disease are protected underneath your gums because your toothbrush can’t reach these spaces!
In order to combat periodontitis, your dentist will need to clean out these pockets and remove the infection. If your periodontitis isn’t severe, you likely won’t need surgical treatment. Non-surgical treatment for periodontitis is also called root planing or scaling. This deep cleaning can help to remove the infection and restore your gums.
What Is Root Planing and Scaling?
When your gums harbor infectious tissue and bacteria, root planing and scaling is often the first step your dentist will take to help get your mouth back to normal. During this procedure, you’ll receive local anesthesia to help with any discomfort you may feel. Your dentist will then conduct a thorough cleaning using special tools to remove plaque, infection, bacteria, and tartar that are causing the inflammation from your teeth and gums.
Your dentist will also smooth the roots of your teeth back into place, which helps your gums maintain their normal shape and therefore protect your teeth and gums from harmful bacteria that may try to re-enter areas below the gumline. Oftentimes, this treatment is the only treatment that’s needed for periodontitis!
Effectively Treat Periodontitis
If your gum disease has progressed to the point that it’s causing your gums to become inflamed and harbor infection, you can effectively treat periodontitis the first time with root planing and scaling. With regular dental checkups and great home care habits for your smile, this may be the only treatment you need! Generally, the gums respond well to this treatment and are able to heal. Your dentist is able to help prevent further damage and protect your smile with non-surgical treatment for periodontitis.
If your gums are tender, bleed when brushing, or look “puffy” and swollen out from your teeth, it’s time to visit your dentist to check for gum disease. Periodontitis can often be easily treated with root planing and scaling by your local dentist, and with some oral health care changes, your gums can be restored and healthily support your teeth for life!