The Importance of Recalls for the Maintenance and Prevention of Gum Disease
[Updated: July 12th, 2022]
Do you find blood on your toothbrush every time you brush your teeth? Do you feel like your gum line is receding by the day? Unfortunately, you are likely suffering from gum disease, otherwise known as periodontitis.
A whopping 20% of Australian adults have gum disease and may not even realise it. If identified early, the damage can be reversed, but once the gums and teeth deteriorate, you can only limit the damage with regular dental treatments.
When you undergo treatment for gum disease, it is essential to maintain regular appointments with your dentist. Usually, a dentist would recommend a recall every three or six months throughout the year, and it is imperative that you comply. This is because the bacteria causing periodontitis repopulates around the gums and burrows down the gum pockets three months after every cleaning. Once you’ve got clean gums and sparkling teeth, it can be easy to assume that your problems are over. However, gum disease is often the ‘gift that keeps on giving’, and aftercare is essential to keep your symptoms at bay.
If you suspect gum disease, it’s essential to get to a good dentist as soon as possible who can assess your dental and medical history to come up with a treatment plan. An experienced dentist will determine the severity of your condition and motivate you with the appropriate oral hygiene aftercare to manage your symptoms.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease is caused by a build-up of plaque on the teeth that works its way toward your gum line. Plaque is the accumulation of bacteria and sugars that are present in much of the food and drink that we consume. Once the plaque is allowed to build up on the teeth, it can only be removed with a professional scale and clean.
There are two stages of gum disease – gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease and affects the surface level of the gums, particularly where it encounters the tooth. The main symptoms of gingivitis include bleeding gums, redness, and swelling, and at this stage, the damage can be reversed with proper dental care and maintained oral hygiene.
On the other hand, periodontitis occurs when the damage from gingivitis is too severe. Periodontitis refers to damage to the structures that hold the teeth in place, known as the periodontium. The gum protects these structures by forming a seal around the neck of the tooth. Over time, the damage can accumulate to make the teeth loose, often resulting in them requiring removal.
What is the Treatment for Gum Disease?
Once your dentist or periodontist diagnoses you with gum disease and determines the severity of your condition, they will come up with a treatment plan specific for you. This will generally include scaling to remove tartar and bacteria from the surface of your tooth and beneath your gums. Your dentist will likely follow scaling with root planing to smooth the root surfaces and prevent further bacteria and tartar build-up. Root planing will aid in preventing inflammation and promote healing or reattachment of the gum.
The cleaning process involved in treating gum disease is more complex than normal cleaning due to the spaces and crevices formed in the teeth from bone loss and bacterial infection. Gum disease treatment should only be completed by a reputable dentist who is experienced in handling gum disease. Further treatment such as a course of antibiotics and even surgery may be required, based on your condition, lifestyle factors and dental history.
Gum Disease Treatment Aftercare
Once you’ve been diagnosed and treated for gum disease, your dental hygiene needs to become the focus of your shopping lists and self-care routine.
Some at-home remedies you can apply to care for your teeth after your treatment include:
- Brush and floss morning and night or after every meal
- Use a soft electric toothbrush and replace the heads regularly
- Wash your mouth with dentist-approved mouthwash to reduce plaque build-up
- Use an interdental cleaner, such as a dental pick, to get right in between your teeth
- Keep up to date with your comprehensive six-monthly dentist cleans
- Avoid cigarettes, tobacco, and drinks high in sugar
While gum disease cannot often be reversed completely, it can be kept at bay with a few tweaks to your dental hygiene routine.
Why a Recall Appointment is Essential
After treatment for gum disease, maintaining and monitoring your dental health with the help of your dentist is essential. This is the only way to ensure your teeth and gums are on the right track to healing and determine whether further treatment is required. The frequency of which you will need to attend recalls will depend on the severity of your oral health history and how your gum disease was treated.
Your recall appointment will likely include:
- An examination of the teeth, gums, and bones around the teeth
- Examination of the mouth and throat
- Refreshing your dental and medical history
- Discussion of at-home care routines
- A clean, scale, root planing and polishing of the teeth if needed
- Pocket irrigation if required
- An update of dental x-rays to track progress
The recommended interval between recall appointments can include several other factors such as your age, the severity of the gum disease, how well the plaque is kept under check, and any underlying health conditions that could get in the way during the procedures.
Maintenance and treatment procedures can be quite painful if done by an inexperienced dentist. It is very important that you work with a dentist who has the right skills to administer the correct doses of anaesthetics, especially if you have sensitive teeth. Inflamed and bleeding gums can be very sensitive, and even the softest scrape can be excruciating.
Unfortunately, if you’re unable to keep up with recall appointments, the treatment will be of no benefit and you will be set up to fail, with the symptoms of gum disease able to return. Even if follow up appointments seem tedious, they are nothing compared to the pain and discomfort of gum disease that is left unchecked.
Get on top of your Gum Concerns Today…
Having an experienced, understanding, and gentle dentist on your side to tackle gum disease can be a game-changer. There is nothing worse than a dentist poking around without knowing how to treat your pain or one who cannot come up with a comprehensive treatment and recall plan. At KB Village Dental, we have truly seen it all, and as such, we have the tools, knowledge and understanding to bring even the most inflamed, painful gums back to health so you can eat and drink without a second thought.
Place the health of your teeth in the best hands and give yourself the peace of mind that can only come with knowing you are taking care of yourself properly. Whether you’ve let your gum disease develop for way too long, if you’ve begun to experience symptoms or you simply have concerns about the health of your teeth – we can help.
Please, don’t put your oral hygiene off any longer. Get in touch with our friendly team today or send an appointment request here.