St Helen Family Dentistry Logo


Gum Disease (Periodontal)

Plaque is the most common cause of gum disease. Unfortunately, patients often discover they have gum disease after it persists for an extended period of time.

Once you have periodontal disease, it must be managed for life. Without adequate care the risk is high for tooth loss.

Proper oral hygiene, daily dental care, and regular dental checkups minimize your risk of gum disease, which ranges from mild inflammation of the gum tissue (gingivitis) to severe bone loss (periodontitis) around the tooth or teeth.


  • Bleeding gums when brushing your teeth; with or without discomfort
  • Bad breath
  • "Long" teeth (receding gum lines exposing the roots of your teeth"
  • Discolored or deteriorating tooth structure
  • Gum depressions (holes in between the teeth in the gum tissue)
  • Infected gum line (discoloration or inflammation of the gum tissue)
  • Tooth movement which may result in tooth loss
  • Periodontitis is linked to heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, lower birth weight in babies, and now pancreatic cancer. Ongoing research continues to link periodontal disease to other systemic health conditions.

The effects of gum disease can damage your dental health. However, through proper preventive care and oral hygiene, you can avoid gum disease and its associated problems.

We offer treatments for gum disease. Our initial New Patient visit includes a periodontal evaluation.

Scaling and root planing aftercare

Now that you have had scaling and root planing therapy, it is important to follow these recommendations to speed healing.

Do not eat anything for 2 hours after surgery. When you do feel comfortable enough to eat, but you still have numbness, be careful not to bite your cheeks or tongue.

For the first 48 to 72 hours, restrict your diet to soft foods such as yogurt, scrambled eggs, and soup, until you can comfortably chew. Chew on the side of your mouth opposite of the surgery site.

Avoid alcoholic drinks and hot or spicy foods until your gums are healed. Do not use any tobacco products for at least 72 hours because tobacco slows healing.

If we used an anesthetic, take pain medication before the anesthetic wears off to control any discomfort, or as recommended. It is normal to experience some discomfort for several days after surgery.

For the first 6 hours after surgery, apply an ice pack, 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off, to decrease pain and swelling.

After 24 hours, reduce discomfort or swelling by gently rinsing your mouth with warm salt water 3 times a day. Use about 1 teaspoon of salt per glass of warm water.

Brush the treated area very lightly the first night. To make this more comfortable, first rinse your toothbrush under hot water to soften the bristles.

The next day, begin flossing lightly, and gradually return to your usual home care over the next week. It is normal to have some slight bleeding for the first few days when you brush and floss the treated areas.

Brush and floss the non-treated areas of your mouth normally.

Use a desensitizing toothpaste if your teeth are sensitive to hot, cold, or pressure.

If we prescribed a medicated mouthrinse, use it as directed. Avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol.

Call us if discomfort is not diminishing day by day, or if swelling increases or continues beyond 3 or 4 days.

631 North St. Helen Road, St Helen, MI 48656

© St. Helen Family Dentistry All Rights Reserved