Diagnosed With Early-Stage Periodontal Disease: Now What?

So, you recently scheduled a routine dental cleaning, only to be told by your dentist that you've got early-stage periodontal disease--an irreversible form of gum disease that, if left untreated, could result in tooth loss and other complications. You may be wondering what to do now. The good news is that you can stop the progression of the disease by taking the right steps as soon as possible. This article will tell you what to do. 

Find a Local Periodontist

Even if your dentist offers periodontal treatment, it's in your best interest to find a dedicated periodontist--somebody who specializes in treating periodontal disease. During an initial appointment with a periodontist, he or she will be able to give a second opinion and confirm whether or not you actually have early-stage periodontal disease. If so, your periodontist can then begin developing a personalized treatment plan to stop the progression of the disease as much as possible. More than likely, this will begin with a procedure known as root planing and scaling, which is essentially a very deep cleaning of your teeth and gum tissues.

Schedule Regular Maintenance Cleanings

Once your root planing and scaling procedures are done (they typically need to be done in two separate office visits), you'll need to see your periodontist for regular "maintenance cleaning" appointments. These are much different from the typical cleanings and exams you'd usually have done at your dentist's office because they're much more thorough and focused on restoring the health of your gums and preventing future infection. Depending on your periodontist's recommendations, you may need to have maintenance cleanings done a couple times or even several times a year. These appointments will be vital in preventing the development of periodontal disease.

Take Control of Your Dental Hygiene

In addition to having regular maintenance cleanings done by a qualified periodontist, you'll also need to do your part to care for your teeth and gums on a daily basis. If you haven't been into a regular flossing routine, now's the time to start flossing at least once per day; this will help prevent the build-up of plaque and bacteria in your gum pockets, thus preventing future infection. Your periodontist may also prescribe a medicated mouthwash, which you should use as directed.

Finding out you have periodontal disease can be a shock, but the good news is that you've caught it early. With the right treatment, you can live a normal life and still have a healthy, beautiful smile.