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Periodontal Dental Care in Rochester, MN

Gentling Dental Care can provides the best Rochester, MN dental care for gum disease

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is an inflammatory process in the supporting tissues (gums and bone) of the teeth and their root/s. It consists of three different phases:

Gingivitis- Red, inflamed gums that can bleed with brushing and flossing. It is reversible with good home care and regular professional dental cleanings.

Periodontitis- Is irreversible. Destruction of gingival tissues (recession) and bone loss surrounding the teeth has occurred. These areas cannot be regained, but they can be maintained with good at-home care and regular professional dental cleanings in Rochester MN.

Advanced Periodontitis- Is also irreversible. It involves even more destruction to the supporting dental tissues. Advanced bone loss may need referral to a periodontal specialist. In some cases it can lead to infection, loose teeth, and need for removal of the teeth in question.* More frequent periodontal cleanings along with great at home care are necessary to save the teeth.

*More teeth are lost each year due to periodontal disease than dental cavities.

Why do you probe my gums, and what do these measurements mean?

At our new patient exam, all adults have their periodontal pockets measured. You can think of these “pockets” as a kangaroo pouch between where the tooth and gums meet. The measurements will provide us a baseline for your periodontal health. We will re-measure at intervals when you return for regular maintenance in order to compare to your baseline, assure that we are not losing ground, and determine the necessary type of cleaning and appropriate time between visits for you.

To make these measurements, we take a very small probe (tiny measuring tool) and place this in the space between your gums and tooth structure. We passively drop this instrument until resistance is felt. Again, these measurements, along with the appropriate x-rays provide us information to diagnose any periodontal disease, determine what we are up against and the type of cleaning your will need.

A perfectly healthy mouth with have all measurements less than or equal to 3mm. Occasionally there are 4mm periodontal pockets in a relatively healthy mouth. However, once these pockets are 5mm or greater, bacteria adhere and grow more readily to the available tooth/root structure exposed under the gum tissue. Deeper pockets could indicate that the gum tissues are inflamed and these pockets can improve with good at-home care and professional cleanings. The measurements could also indicate bone loss under the gum tissues. We can’t regain bone that has been lost, but we can prevent further bone loss as long as the pockets are not too deep. If the pockets become too deep it is an uphill battle. Periodontal infections can develop and teeth may need to be extracted.

Remember, periodontal disease is a process. The longer the bacteria is left on tooth and root structure without a professional cleaning, the deeper these pockets become, and the more difficult it is to clean and maintain your teeth and bone healthy and infection free.

How often should I have my teeth cleaned?
The general guideline to maintain a healthy mouth is to have your teeth cleaned every 6 months. However, it may be necessary to come in more frequently to have your teeth cleaned for a variety of reasons:

What is the difference between periodontal cleaning and regular cleaning?

Periodontitis Video

Debridement Video:

Scaling and root planing video:

A periodontal cleaning is often referred to as a “deeper” cleaning. The technical term for this type of dental cleaning is scaling and root planning. Plaque and tartar build-up accumulate deeper beneath the gums due to bone loss and gingival inflammation caused by periodontitis and gingivitis, respectively. Often times the tartar build-up is more tenacious, and thus more time consuming to appropriately remove. All dental cleanings focus on the removal of plaque, tartar, and stain to create a healthy oral environment. Periodontal cleanings simply involve more tooth and root structure.

*Occasionally, referral to a periodontal specialist is needed to appropriately clean teeth when the disease process is beyond our scope of practice. Surgery (lifting gums away, cleaning root structure directly, and placing gum tissues back after cleaning) along with bone or tissue grafting may be deemed necessary.

Do I need to have x-rays?
X-rays are a way to show us what we cannot physically see or feel with our visual and tactile exam. They give us the big picture of what is happening with bone levels, cavities (especially between teeth) and other potential dental infections that could otherwise be missed.

What are our home care recommendations to achieve and maintain a healthy mouth?
The fact of the matter is that without adequate brushing and flossing one will eventually get periodontal disease and/or cavities. Bacteria are constantly growing and accumulating in our mouth. Ideally, we all should brush at least 2x/day and floss 1x/day. To take it a step further, we should brush for 2 minutes each time.

Flossing is a difficult habit to get into, but brushing, use of a Waterpik, and mouthwash alone cannot physically clean the areas between the teeth. This leaves bacteria and food debris to fester, causing halitosis (bad breath), cavities between the teeth (one of the most common cavity sites), gingivitis and bleeding gums, and eventual periodontitis and bone loss.

It is our goal to give our patients the best treatment along with all the tools/advise to achieve and keep a healthy mouth for life. Because every patient is unique, we cater our recommendations to each of our patients. For some, specific mouthwashes or toothpastes will be advised while these may not be appropriate adjuncts for other patients. Lastly, we recommend good quality electric toothbrushes to all of our patients, as these have been proven to more efficient clean the teeth.

Contact Gentling Dental Care today for questions on periodontal cleaning in Rochester, MN. Or to make an appointment.

View Our Patient Education Video: Periodontics

View Our Patient Education Video: Tooth Brushing Tip

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