As far as I knew, my teeth were fine. I brushed. Sometimes I even flossed. Sure, they didn’t exactly look like shiny white pearls, but they weren’t causing me any problems either. Or so I thought. Turns out there’s a lot of activity in your mouth, even if you’re unaware of it. The true health of your teeth and gums is a matter best left for the professionals to determine. But you have to make an appointment before you can benefit from a professional opinion.
Two years ago, at my dental appointment, I was in for a cleaning. Without much explanation, my dentist referred me to a periodontist for a specialized treatment called teeth scaling and root planing. He told me I have periodontal disease. With little other explanation he sent me on my way. Although I was unimpressed with the lack of information and communication between my dentist (who shall remain nameless) and I about what had happened and what was going to happen inside my mouth, I am at least grateful that he chose to refer me to Periodontal Associates.
From start to finish, the team at Periodontal Associates were extremely helpful. They were friendly and attentive on the phone, in the office, and even during following up after my appointment. I cannot say enough about the warm receptionist and kind and competent hygienist. All of the questions I had after leaving my dentist’s office were patiently explained to me without hesitation at Periodontal Associates. They took the time to describe what was happening inside my mouth and gave me all the information I needed to prevent it from happening again.
I was so impressed with their service and care that now I go to them regularly for periodontal cleaning! I also learned so much from my interactions with them that I felt the need to share my experience with those who may not know that their mouth isn’t as happy as they think. There are steps you can take to prevent big problems with your teeth and gums – and one of those steps is going to see the team at Periodontal Associates.
During that first appointment, the hygienist explained to me that my inconsistent oral care had allowed plaque to build up on my teeth and gums. By the time the plaque turned to tartar it was too far gone for me to just brush away. The tartar allowed bacteria to thrive and eat away at my tissue and bones. When I noticed swollen gums or red on my toothbrush, I just assumed I had cut my mouth on food or had brushed too hard. A little bit of blood seemed like a normal occurrence to me.
Turns out bleeding gums is a normal occurrence… for someone with periodontitis! The periodontist did make me feel a bit better by sharing that most adults do exhibit symptoms of the early stages of gum disease. But, because I wasn’t getting regular check-ups, my periodontitis progressed unimpeded. I had no pain or discomfort issues to act as a warning, so the bacteria continued breaking down the supportive tissue around my teeth, causing “periodontal pockets”. These pockets – space between my teeth and gums – made it even more difficult to access all the trouble spots with an at-home brushing routine alone. By the time I dropped by my dentist’s for a check up, my teeth were past the need for a regular dental cleaning. I needed a more thorough cleaning, called Teeth Scaling and Root Planing.
Scaling is to remove tartar from areas that cannot be reached by brushing, flossing, and rinsing. The tartar is scraped off all surfaces and if the teeth have been damaged by the eroding bacteria, the periodontist will also do Root Planing – a process that smooths out the tooth root surfaces. Having even surfaces under the gum line helps the tissue reattach to the teeth and prevents the return of unreachable pockets where bacteria can hide again.
Thankfully, this non-surgical periodontal procedure was an option to treat my early periodontitis. The appointment was broken down into two sessions to allow me the use of at least part of my mouth after each appointment (since they were so kind as to numb the areas they worked on!). I did require root planing on two of my teeth, which were a bit more sore afterwards since the periodontist had to work deeper under my gum line in those areas. The team warned me that I may be a bit sensitive to temperature and pressure for a while, and I was sent home with a chlorhexidine rinse (to kill any of the remaining bacteria) and was advised to take a couple ibuprofen if the discomfort became too much.
Although I did not require the more invasive surgeries like gum grafting and bone grafting, I did learn about them as a means of deterring me from letting my mouth fall into this condition in the future. In all of my follow up appointments with Periodontal Associates they continue to take the time to help me with my oral care routine and other means of preventing periodontal disease. Personally, I’ve found their willingness to share their knowledge to be the most helpful tool in fighting off gum disease. A little information and some extra care can go a long way towards maintaining a healthy mouth, and Periodontal Associates is definitely here to help us all succeed.