Happy National Dental Hygiene Month!

October 18, 2018

Did you know that October is National Dental Hygiene Month?  Our amazing Hygienists are always striving to better serve their patients and October is a time to help us raise awareness about the importance of good oral health. It is also a time to celebrate the important work they do on a daily basis. We are so fortunate to have 2 wonderful hygienists that put our patients at ease and encourage them to work toward a healthier smile. National Dental Hygiene month is the perfect time to discuss the basics of periodontal disease. Read on to learn more about the disease your hygienist is working hard to treat and prevent every day.

Let’s start with gingivitis, this is a mild form of gum disease that presents with red, swollen and bleeding gums. It is caused by a buildup of plaque (which contains bacteria) on the teeth. Gingivitis is reversible. With your regular dental cleanings and good oral home care you can prevent gingivitis from progressing. Periodontal disease or periodontitis is the advancement of untreated gingivitis. When plaque is left to accumulate, over time your body’s inflammatory response starts to do irreparable damage. The gums begin to form deeper pockets, becoming harder to clean and more buildup occurs below the gumline. Without treatment, the cycle continues with more gum tissue and bone being destroyed. Once the bone is lost, it cannot be regenerated. As you can imagine this leads to loose teeth and eventual tooth loss.

Your hygienist’s main focus is to prevent and treat periodontal disease. Treatment for periodontal disease starts with gum therapy, also referred to as “deep cleanings” or “scaling and root planing.”  This entails the use of anesthetic and specialized instruments to reach and adapt below the gumline to remove the tartar and plaque buildup at the depths of the pockets. If your hygienist determines your gum disease is advanced to a point that a specialist (Periodontist) would best serve you, a referral will be given.

Once the disease has been treated, good home care is imperative. Your hygienist will discuss the best tools for you based on your individual needs. They will also likely recommend a more frequent recall schedule. Many people are unaware that the 6 month recall frequency is intended for those with a healthier mouth. The goal is to prevent periodontal disease at these visits. A 3-4 month recall is appropriate for anyone that has undergone treatment for gum disease. The more frequent recall helps to keep your gums stable and the disease under control.

I would like to conclude by thanking our amazing team of dental hygienists. Tricia and Melissa work very hard to keep all of us healthy. As always if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask them. If you’re ready to begin your journey to a healthy smile, call us today to make an appointment! 253-863-2995

Happy Dental Hygiene Month!

 

References

American Academy of Periodontology: https://www.perio.org/consumer/types-gum-disease.html#OverlayWrapper[flash]/0/

 


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