If proper brushing and flossing habits are not kept, plaque could be allowed to build up on the teeth surfaces and on the gum line. Not only does this lead to cavities, but it can also cause the development of periodontal, or gum, disease. Bacteria living in the plaque start to attack the teeth and gums, causing inflammation and possible damage. More advanced stages of periodontal disease can even end in tooth loss. Fortunately, the disease is treatable.
The early stage of periodontal disease, known as gingivitis, is usually treated with a procedure called a scaling and planing, also known as a deep clean. In this treatment, the teeth are cleaned thoroughly, as in a routine cleaning, but also down beneath the gum line. The root surfaces of the teeth are then planed, or smoothed out. This discourages the buildup of tartar and bacteria on that surface and helps the gums reattach to the teeth, shrinking the periodontal pockets.
More advanced cases of periodontitis may require surgical procedures such as a soft tissue graft or flap surgery.
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