Gum Disease Diagnosis and Treatment
What is gum disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease in its advanced stage, is an infection of the gums that surround your teeth. It is one of the primary causes of tooth loss in adults. Gum disease is mostly caused by plaque and bacteria buildup that is not treated in its early stages. Other causes of periodontal disease include tobacco use, teeth grinding, some medications, and genetics.
Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease. If detected, it is treatable. Gingivitis left untreated may turn into gum disease. Advanced gum disease will lead to tooth and bone loss, and is a permanent condition. Brushing your teeth regularly and visiting the dentist every six months will help prevent gingivitis and more severe cases of periodontal disease.
Because it is virtually pain-free, many patients do not know they have the disease. During each regular checkup, Dr. Dhakchang 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 build-up of plaque, a sticky form of bacteria that forms on the teeth. If the plaque is not removed by flossing, brushing and at regular dental checkups, it will continue to build up and 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. It has two stages: gingivitis and periodontitis.
- Gingivitis — This is the early stage of gum disease, when the gums become red and swollen, and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is treatable and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing.
- Periodontitis — If left untreated, gingivitis will advance into periodontitis, and the gums and bone that support the teeth will become seriously and irreversibly damaged. Gums infected with periodontitis can cause teeth to become loose, fall out, or require removal by a dentist.
What are factors that increase my risk of developing periodontal disease?
- Smoking or using chewing tobacco
- Certain types of medication, such as steroids, anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, calcium channel blockers, and oral contraceptives
- Bridges that no longer fit properly
- Crooked teeth
- Old fillings
What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?
- Gums that bleed easily
- Red, swollen, tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
- Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- Any change in the fit of partial dentures
How do you treat gum disease?
Depending on the severity of each individual case, treatments for gum disease can vary. Typical treatments include:
- Non-surgical treatments, including at-home periodontal trays and scaling and root planning (deep cleaning)
- Periodontal surgery and laser gum surgery
- Dental implants
How do you prevent gum disease?
To prevent gum disease or catch it early, schedule regular dental appointments at Smiles R Us Family Dental! Regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are important for maintaining your health and the health of your smile. You should also practice proper oral hygiene at home. By brushing and flossing your teeth every day, you can significantly reduce your chances of ever getting gum disease. Remember to brush twice a day, floss daily, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits to help keep your smile healthy.