A build-up of plaque and tartar (calculus) can lead to inflamed and infected gums. Mild gum disease is called gingivitis and is not usually serious. More severe gum disease is called periodontitis. Untreated periodontitis will eventually result in tooth loss, and may increase the risk of stroke, heart attack and other health problems. Bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless membrane that develops over the surface of teeth, is the most common cause of periodontal disease.
Good oral hygiene which includes regular tooth brushing and cleaning between teeth (eg, by flossing) can usually prevent gum disease, and treat mild-to-moderate gum disease. Specialist dental treatments may be needed for severe gum disease.
Root planning and scaling is one of the most effective ways to treat gum disease before it becomes severe. Root planning and scaling cleans between the gums and the teeth down to the roots. The dentist may need to use a local anesthetic to numb your gums and the roots of your teeth. The dentist may place antibiotic fibres into the pockets between your teeth and gums. The antibiotic will help speed healing and prevent infection. The dentist will remove the fibres about 1 week after the procedure.
Root planning and scaling is done when gums have either started to pull away from the teeth or the roots of the teeth have hard mineral deposits (tartar) on them.
If you maintain good dental care after the procedure, the progression of gum disease should stop. And your gums will heal and become firm and pink again.
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