Gum Disease Treatment
Gum disease, also known as “periodontal disease,” is an infection of the gums surrounding your teeth. This is one of the top causes for tooth loss in adults, and because it is virtually pain-free, many patients do not know they have it. During each regular checkup, your dentist will check for signs of periodontal disease by measuring the space between your teeth and gums.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque (a sticky form of bacteria that forms on the teeth). If the plaque is not removed (by flossing, brushing, and regular dental checkups), it will create toxins that can damage the gums. Periodontal disease forms just below the gum line and creates small pockets that separate the gums from the teeth. This disease has two stages: gingivitis and periodontitis.
In this early stage, the gums become red, swollen, and bleed easily. If it does not progress further, the disease is treatable and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing.
If left untreated, gingivitis will advance into periodontitis, where the gums and bone that support the teeth become seriously and irreversibly damaged. Gums infected with periodontitis can cause teeth to become loose, fall out, or require removal by a dentist.
While it is possible to have periodontal disease and not know it, some symptoms can include:
- Gums that bleed easily or are red, swollen and tender
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
- Pus between teeth and gums
- Loosening or separation of permanent teeth
- Any change in the way teeth fit together when biting
- Any change in the fit of partial dentures
Treating Gum Disease
Treatments for gum disease can vary depending on the severity of each individual case. They can range from non-surgical treatments (these include at-home periodontal trays, scaling and root planing) to periodontal and laser-gum surgery and even dental implants.
Preventing Gum Disease
A good oral hygiene routine at home is one of the keys to fighting gum disease. Remember to brush carefully, floss to clean between your teeth, eat a balanced diet and avoid tobacco use. In addition to these good home habits, don’t forget to come see us for regular dental cleanings and exams so that our staff can make sure your teeth and gums stay healthy and strong!