There are a variety of tools out there that can help prevent gum disease and some great new technologies to treat gums disease after it sets in.
If you have been diagnosed with gum disease, treatment is important. This is because gum disease is a progressive condition in which bacteria infects the gum tissue (gingivitis) and quickly sneaks under the gum line to start attacking teeth, bone and connective tissues (periodontitis).
While gingivitis is easily reversed with a thorough cleaning at your dentist’s office and continued proper oral hygiene at home, periodontitis is not. It requires special intervention, and the use of special tools.
But, first let’s discuss tools you can use at home, relatively inexpensively, to combat the onset of gum disease.
Water picks, also known as oral irrigators, are ultrasonic devices that blast streams of water. These can be purchased relatively inexpensively and are excellent loosening plaque from your teeth. If you have gum disease, it’s ideal to use a water flush debris below your gum line. Although not a replacement for flossing, if your gums are too sensitive or swollen at the moment, they can be a temporary remedy until you’ve healed.
Massage therapy is often used for sore muscles and aches. Most people don’t know, however, that this same therapy can be applied to your gums. Designed to upgrade and improve blood flow to the gums, gum stimulators are intended to rub against the gum line and on gums, as a form of stimulation. A soft rubber tip allows the breakup and removal of debris from gum pockets. As a person develops gum disease, his or her gums tend to pull away from the tooth roots, thus forming gum pockets. While healthy gums adhere snuggly to teeth, gum pockets tend to fill up with bacteria.
Gum massagers can also be used to clean bacteria between teeth. These tools are safer than toothpicks since they don’t pierce or tear gingival tissues.
Gum massage increases the blood flow. When you massage the tissue, circulation improves, meaning that your gums will be able to remove metabolic waste and heal more speedily. If your lymph nodes are swollen in your face, you may actually notice them getting smaller since massage can move along sluggish lymph fluid.
Many patients get mouth rinses over the counter. Your dentist can also prescribe therapeutic mouth rinses. These prescription mouth rinses are stronger and often have chlorhexidine and essential oils to control plaque and reduce swollen gums.
Now, here’s a bit about tools your periodontist may have at their disposal.
Probe | Measuring Periodontal Pockets
A probe is used to measure periodontal pockets. Pockets form as bacteria fall below the gum line and reproduce. The deeper the pockets, the worse the condition. Any measurement under 3 millimeters is considered healthy. If your pockets measure 4 millimeters or more, it is an indication that the tissue has detached from the tooth and bone loss may have begun.
Digital X-Rays | Seeing Below Your Gums
Digital x-rays are helpful in determining many things, particularly what is going on under the gums. Your dentist will be able to see if there are any infections and how much, if any, bone loss has occurred. These factors will be able to help determine the best treatment plan.
Scanning Tools for Eliminating Plaque
Scaling and root planing is often the plan of action for getting rid of plaque and tartar buildup and helping your gums to begin to heal. This process involves removing plaque and tartar, as well as bacteria and other debris from the teeth, both above and below the gum line.
The roots of your teeth are also smoothed to prevent new buildup. In many cases, an ultrasonic scaling tool is used to do this. According to Dr. David Mugford of the Mugford Center for Periodontics & Dental Implants in Crofton, MD, “It is more accurate and less painful than the traditional manual method using a metal tool. Many ultrasonic scalers also come equipped with a nozzle that delivers an antimicrobial agent below the gums to help kill any linger bacteria.”
Scaling and root planing used to be a painful procedure. But with the use of lasers, along with ultrasonic scalers, pain is being greatly reduced. The use of a laser for periodontal cleanings allows your dentist to remove inflamed and infected gum tissue, providing better access to clean the teeth.
Lasers are more accurate, and there is also less bleeding (they cauterize as they cut), as well as less pain and swelling. Recovery is lessened as well, allowing you to heal faster.
Get More Information on Gum Disease Treatments
If you would like more information on what you can do at home to treat gum disease, or are interested in the state-of-the-art technology we have here at the Mugford Center for Periodontics & Dental Implants, we’d love to have you give us a call today, at (410) 260-0790.