It is normal for bacteria in the saliva to form plaque around your teeth; this is why you should brush and floss on a daily basis. Unfortunately, because we all lead very busy lives, brushing and flossing are sometimes forgotten. If plaque is allowed to accumulate around the teeth, the gums become inflamed and begin to separate from the teeth. This may result in the formation of “pockets” between the tooth and gum where additional plaque and bacteria can accumulate. As the body attempts to get rid of these bacteria and their toxic by-products, it begins to destroy bone. In advanced cases, bone loss may lead to loosening of the teeth and eventually, tooth loss.
In situations with mild gum disease, pockets may be treated non-surgically with deep cleaning techniques known as scaling and root planing (click here to visit the scaling and root planing page). In more advanced situations where bone loss is involved, additional procedures are necessary to stop the progression of gum disease. If bone loss is contained to specific areas or meets certain conditions, it may be treated with bone regeneration (click here to visit the bone regeneration page). If bone loss is more widespread, it may be treated with gum surgery. In this procedure, uneven and irregular bone around the teeth is smoothed and reshaped to facilitate a healthy environment for the gums.
To prevent any bacterial infection from re-colonizing within your gum pockets, Dr. Holtzclaw may prescribe oral or topical antibiotic treatment for a period of time following your gum pocket therapy. He may also suggest consistent home care and more frequent periodontal cleanings to improve the chance of keeping your teeth healthy.
If you can’t seem to get rid of bad breath, or if your gums are sore and bleed easily when flossed, Dr. Holtzclaw and his expert team would love to help you improve the health of your gums. Call us today to schedule a periodontal evaluation.