Dentistry is founded on the principle of prevention. All patients are recommended either an annual or biannual examination and at least a biannual cleaning. Not only do they help you catch dental problems before they arise, they leave your gums healthier, and your teeth cleaner and whiter. A professional cleaning removes hardened buildup that cannot be removed by brushing and flossing alone. It can also involve a polish and fluoride treatment to help protect your teeth from cavities.
At Rachel Barnhart DDS, we offer multiple preventive services and also take the health of your smile one step further by offering periodontal services. Periodontics is a dental specialty that focuses on the inflammatory conditions that can destroy gum tissue and other supporting structures around the teeth.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal Disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the gums and the surrounding bone. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, about half of Americans over the age of 30 have some form of Periodontal Disease. Some common symptoms of this condition include bleeding or swollen gums, loose teeth, and pain or discomfort within or around the gums.
If you’re experiencing symptoms, Dr. Barnhart may recommend:
- Scaling/root planing. This procedure cleans the infected surface of a tooth root. Scaling removes the plaque and tartar above and below the gumline. Root planing smooths the tooth root and helps the gums reattach to the tooth. Although this procedure may be uncomfortable, it will prevent further decay. Depending on the level of tartar and plaque buildup, multiple treatments may be needed.
- Arrestin placement – In advanced cases of plaque buildup, the gums pull away from the teeth and form spaces called pockets. The plaque that builds up in these pockets cannot be removed through regular brushing, so Dr. Barnhart may recommend Arrestin. This is a medication used to help prevent bacteria from eating away at the gums. Arrestin is administered directly into the gum pockets and also fights harmful bacteria.
Depending on how advanced the Periodontal Disease is, periodontal maintenance may be recommended every 3-6 months. Dr. Barnhart and her team will create a long-term treatment plan during your appointment.
How Can Periodontal Disease be Prevented?
- Use a soft-bristled electric toothbrush for at least 2 minutes twice a day
- Brush with a fluoride toothpaste
- Floss daily before bedtime
- Swish with water after eating and drinking
- Avoid sugary foods, coffee, and tobacco
- Get fluoride treatments in office after your cleanings
- If recommended by your dentist, have sealants placed to protect the grooves in your teeth from cavities