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The importance of preventive care and periodontal maintenance in Wallingford, CT

Total oral health involves more than teeth. In fact, one of the most devastating oral disease targets the gum tissue. Periodontal disease can have far-reaching health effects. In addition to being the leading cause of adult tooth loss, it has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and more. That is why periodontal maintenance is a high priority here at Wolfy Dental Group in Wallingford CT.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease, also called gum disease, is a destructive infection of tissue surrounding and supporting the teeth. It begins with a mild infection of the gums, known as gingivitis. Without treatment, inflamed gum tissue begins separating from the surface of tooth roots, creating pockets that trap plaque and bacteria. This allows the infection to spread deeper, eventually reaching the bone and periodontal ligaments. The advanced form of gum disease, known as periodontitis, endangers your teeth and your health.

The good news is that gum disease is treatable, and it is usually preventable.  

  • Prevention – Plaque and tartar contain high concentrations of harmful bacteria and other microorganisms. Therefore, an accumulation of plaque and tartar along the gumline is an invitation for infection. Good oral hygiene and bi-annual professional teeth cleaning are your first lines of defense against periodontitis.
  • Treatment – The best treatment for gum disease depends on how severe it is. Early detection is important, which is why a check-up at Wolfy Dental Group always includes a comprehensive periodontal exam. Gingivitis (early-stage gum disease) can typically be stopped with deep cleaning, also known as root planing and scaling. Periodontitis (advanced gum disease) may require more aggressive treatment.

What happens during periodontal maintenance?

The key to effective periodontal maintenance is removing all plaque and tartar, not only from the upper part of the tooth but also the surface of the root. In a healthy mouth, the gum tissue is tightly attached to the tooth root, protecting it from plaque and tartar. In this case, standard teeth cleaning (dental prophylaxis) is usually sufficient. However, when the gum tissue is separated from the root, plaque and tartar accumulate below the gumline. When that happens, deeper cleaning is needed. Scaling thoroughly cleans teeth below the gumline, and root planing smooths the surface making it more difficult for plaque to adhere.

Keeping your smile healthy

The first step toward preventing or treating periodontal disease is visiting our office for a checkup and cleaning. After an examination, we will tell you if deep cleaning is needed, as well as discussing good preventive habits. Give us a call at (203) 902-3629 to get started.