Do you have Bad breath, red, swollen, or bleeding gums? These are signs of periodontal (gum) disease which is caused by plaque and tartar (bacteria) build up. Over time, dental plaque will creep beneath the gum line, forming “pockets” between the teeth and gums. Gum disease gets worst as these pockets grow, and it starts to destroy the bone, greatly impairing your teeth as well.
Gum disease is common but fairly preventable. An estimated 80 percent of American adults currently have some form of this disease. Gum disease is a threat to your oral health, and research shows periodontal diseases is a risk factor for heart and lung diseases. Signs of gum disease is usually not detected until people are in their 30s and 40s. Although teenagers rarely develop periodontitis, they can develop gingivitis, the milder form of gum disease.
- Persistent Bad breath
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Red or swollen gums
- Receding gums
- Loose or Sensitive teeth
- Gums that bleed during and after tooth brushing
- Changes in the way teeth fit together upon biting down, or in the fit of partial dentures
- Poor oral hygiene
- Smoking and tobacco use
- Family History
- Hormonal changes
- Medicines that cause dry mouth
- Diseases such as diabetes
Stages of Gum Disease
- Gingivitis – is the inflammation of the gums caused by the plaque and tartar (bacteria) on your teeth. The gums become red, swollen and can bleed easily. This is a mild form of gum disease which can usually be reversed with daily brushing and flossing, and regular cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist. This form of gum disease does not include any loss of bone and tissue that hold teeth in place.
- Periodontitis – is the inflammation around the tooth which occurs when gingivitis is not treated. The bacteria creeps beneath the gum line and the gums pull away from the teeth and form “pockets” that are infected. Your body’s immune system starts fighting the bacteria as it spreads and grows below the gum line. Bacterial toxins and the body’s enzymes fighting the infection actually start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. If not treated, the bones, gums, and connective tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. The teeth may eventually become loose and have to be removed.
Gum Disease Treatment
Depending on the extent of the gum disease, the number and types of treatment will vary. But the primary goal of treatment is to control the infection, and the earlier you treat gum disease the better chance you have of recovery because once gum tissue is lost, it doesn’t grow back! Below are some ways our dentist may treat gum disease:
Scaling and Root Planning (Deep Cleaning)
Although gum disease can not be cured, preventative care is necessary to keep gums healthy after the treatment is complete. Brushing and flossing daily will help fight the dental plaque that is constantly forming around teeth. Regular dental visits are also required to remove the dental calculus you’ve missed.
Periodontal diseases can cause other health problems that go well beyond your mouth:
- Alzheimer’s, Cognitive memory
- An increased risk of heart attack or stroke
- An increased risk of delivering preterm, low birth weight babies
- Difficulty controlling blood sugar levels in people with diabetes
- Respiratory disease
- Overall inflammation
If you need treatment, don’t wait! A simple procedure like scaling can reduce the disease’s effects and restore gums to a healthy state. Without proper treatment, gum disease can progress to the point of no return!
Click here to watch a video on gum disease treatment
Gum Disease FAQs
Is scaling and root planning procedure painful? Dental anesthesia is usually administered during the procedure to control sensitivity and pain. If necessary, a medication may be given to help you relax during the procedure, and we may prescribe something for post treatment discomfort as well. Most patients can return to their regular activities following the scaling procedure.
How can I prevent gum disease? Professional cleanings at least twice a year, proper oral hygiene (daily brushing and flossing), antibacterial mouth wash. Stop smoking and tobacco use. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, up to 30% of Americans may be genetically susceptible to gum disease. So you could be affected despite following good oral hygiene practices and other healthy lifestyle choices.