Stummer Dental offers Non-surgical gum treatment
By eliminating plaque and tartar from teeth, dental decay and gum disease can be kept at bay. Having your teeth cleaned by a Registered Dental Hygienist can help prevent cavities and reverse damage to gums and connective tissue holding teeth in place. More often than not, teeth are lost due to gum disease rather than decay of teeth. Gum disease causes the separation of gums and supporting tissue from teeth. This results in gum recession and “pockets” between the tooth and gums. Symptoms of gum disease are swollen, bleeding gums, receding gums, bad breath, painful chewing, sensitive teeth and loose teeth.
To understand the need for proper cleaning of teeth better, know that there are two degrees of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. In gingivitis, the gums are swollen, causing a pocket to form between the teeth and gums, however the tissue and fibers that support the teeth are still intact. The pocket in this case is less than 3 mm. The pocket forms because bacteria left on the teeth are forming plaque. Plaque is naturally occurring film on teeth consisting of bacteria and the acid and chemicals they produce while “living” on the teeth, using sugars to survive. Acid and other bi-product of the bacteria breakdown the gum tissue and cause swelling of the tissue, forming a pocket. This condition can be reversed by regular dental care including brushing, flossing, and dental cleanings. If left untreated, it will progress into a much more devastating condition called periodontitis.
Periodontitis is much more damaging to the gums and it is difficult to reverse. In this case, the disease has progressed to the point where the tissue at the gum line has been destroyed and plaque and tartar are forming below the gum line. Tartar,or calculus, is hardened plaque and cannot be removed through brushing. Bacteria can now destroy more critical tissue and connective tissue fibers that hold teeth in place. Left unchecked, it will also destroy the bone that holds the teeth in place. If the pockets are 4 mm or more, scaling and root-planing will be recommended by the Dr. Stummer. The hygienist will scrape or “scale” the tartar from teeth above and below the gum line. Then any rough spots on the roots of teeth will be smoothed or “planed’ to prevent bacteria from gathering there.
If the situation is too serious, Dr. Stummer will refer patients to a periodontist for surgical treatments, such as flap surgery or bone and tissue grafting.