Gum Disease (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Exams and Tests
Your dentist or dental hygienist will examine your gums and teeth for gum disease during regular visits. Using a small mirror and a tool called a probe, your dentist will look for:
The dentist or dental hygienist may take X-rays of your teeth to look for bone damage and other problems.
Visiting your dentist or dental hygienist regularly is the best way to detect gum disease before it causes serious damage. Your dentist will determine how often you should be seen based on your risk for gum disease.
Early treatment of gum disease is very important. The goals of treatment are to prevent gum disease from permanently damaging tissues, control infection, and prevent tooth loss. For treatment to be effective, you will need to:
Treatment for mild gum disease
If you have a milder type of gum disease (gingivitis), you may be able to reverse the damage to your gums:
For more information on how to care for your teeth, see:
Your dentist will want to see you for regular checkups and cleanings. Professional cleaning can remove plaque and tartar that brushing and flossing missed. After you have had gum disease, you may need to see your dentist every 3 or 4 months for follow-up.
Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to help fight the infection. They can be put directly on the gums, swallowed as pills or capsules, or swished around your teeth as mouthwash. Your dentist may also recommend an antibacterial toothpaste that reduces plaque and gingivitis when used regularly.
Treatment for advanced gum disease
Milder types of gum disease (gingivitis) that are not treated promptly or that do not respond to treatment can progress to advanced gum disease (periodontitis). Periodontitis requires prompt treatment to get rid of the infection and stop damage to the teeth and gums, followed by long-term care to maintain the health of your mouth.
After treatment, you will need to keep your mouth disease-free by preventing plaque buildup. You will need to brush carefully and thoroughly after all meals and snacks and floss daily. Your dentist will probably prescribe an antibacterial mouthwash.
Your dentist will schedule follow-up appointments regularly for cleaning and to make sure that the disease has not returned.
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