What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a type of infection that affects the tissues that support and surround the teeth. Gum disease often starts off painlessly, so your dentist plays an important part in detecting and diagnosing the problem. Often referred to as periodontal disease, gum disease is caused by bacteria that are constantly forming on the teeth, and there is some important information that you should know about this condition.
Gum Disease Risk Factors
Poor oral hygiene is the main culprit when it comes to developing gum disease, but you may also have some other risk factors that make you more susceptible to gum disease than someone else. These include smoking, diabetes, pregnancy, and genetics. If you suspect that you might be at risk for gum disease, you should be sure to make an appointment with us, as early intervention is essential.
Gum Disease Warning Signs
There are certain signs and symptoms that can indicate that you have a problem with gum disease:
|Gums that bleed easily, especially during tooth brushing
|Gums that appear red and swollen while feeling tender
|A persistent bad taste in your mouth or chronic bad breath
|Gum tissue that is receding or pulling away from your teeth
|Permanent teeth that seem to be loosening
|The development of deep pockets within the gums
|Changes in the way that your teeth fit together when you close your mouth
|Changes to the way that your partial dentures fit in your mouth
Early Gum Disease: GingivitisThere are two main stages of gum disease, and the earliest is gingivitis. Gingivitis is a mild and common form of gum disease that causes redness, swelling, and irritation to the gums. Since gingivitis is often mild, you might not even know that you have it. However, it is important to treat gingivitis right away, as without treatment, it could lead to a more serious form of gum disease known as periodontitis.
The most common cause of a gingivitis diagnosis is poor oral hygiene. Fortunately, this condition can be reversed by simply improving your oral health habits and getting regular dental cleanings.
Advanced Gum Disease: Periodontitis
If left untreated, gingivitis can progress into a more serious form of gum disease known as periodontitis. This condition is a serious infection of the gums that can damage the soft tissues while destroying the bone and other supportive structures of the teeth. Not only can periodontitis cause your teeth to loosen or fall out, but it also puts you at an increased risk of having serious health problems like stroke or heart attack. Chronic periodontitis usually worsens slowly, but at times, there may be periods of quick progression.
Aggressive periodontitis is an extremely destructive form of gum disease that will occur with patients who are otherwise healthy. Common characteristics include rapid bone and tissue loss, and this may occur within localized areas in your mouth or it might be widespread. This form of gum disease can’t be cured, but certain measures may be available in order to slow down or to stop the progression.
Treating Gum Disease
The primary goal when it comes to gum disease treatment is to promote the reattachment of healthy gums to your teeth. Additionally, we will work to reduce swelling, eliminate the risk of infection, and to improve the depth of the pockets in your gums.
Specific treatment options will depend on how far the disease has been allowed to progress. A professional dental cleaning is usually the first option, as a dental cleaning can help to remove tartar and plaque from the gum line of your teeth. Additionally, when it comes to non-surgical treatment options, scaling and root planing may be useful, as this deep-cleaning procedure can help to scrape away rough spots on the teeth, as plaque and tartar will have a harder time adhering to smooth surfaces.
Advanced gum disease may require surgical intervention in order to treat, and some of the most common surgical treatment options include:
|Flap surgery With this procedure, tartar is removed after the gums have been surgically lifted back. This helps to reduce the size of the space between the teeth and gums.
If you have experienced bone loss as a result of your gum disease, this process will use natural or synthetic bone to help regenerate new bone in your jaw.
|Soft tissue grafting This procedure will reinforce gums that have thinned or receded, and the grafted tissue is often removed from the roof of your mouth.
If you have questions about gum disease and potential treatment options, give our office a call at (918) 891-3059
to set up an appointment.