Gum disease is a major factor in your overall health, and it’s something many patients forget about. Many adults may experience some form of gum disease in their lifetime. It can progress through several stages of severity. For patients that have not seen a dentist in a long time, gum disease can become a serious condition that needs immediate treatment.
Here’s what you should know about gum disease symptoms and treatment options.
What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease, can occur from poor oral hygiene, crowding in your teeth, and other conditions. When plaque and bacteria build up on teeth, it can begin to cause irritation in your gums. As this irritation worsens, it can cause many symptoms in your gums including swelling, bleeding, puffiness, and redness.
The good news is that gingivitis is treatable and preventable! The best treatment for this oral condition is simply a good brushing and flossing routine at home. Thorough dental cleanings, also called prophylaxis, are also necessary to get rid of the plaque and bacteria build up in your mouth.
What is periodontal disease?
If gingivitis is left untreated or undetected, it can advance to periodontal disease, or periodontitis. This stage of gum disease is very serious; it’s a major cause of tooth loss for adults.
Periodontal disease is caused by ongoing gum inflammation that develops into pockets between the gums and teeth that fill with bacteria, plaque, and tartar. These pockets can develop infections that can eventually lead to loss of teeth and strain on the rest of your body.
Our periodontists use root planing and scaling to aggressively treat periodontal disease. Also called deep cleaning, this procedure uses anesthetic to numb treatment areas while all toxins, tartar, and plaque are removed from the gum pockets. During this procedure, uneven spots on teeth surfaces are smoothed out, which eliminates areas for bacteria to hide. Depending on the severity of the condition, periodontal surgery may also be required.
Patients with periodontal disease need regular treatment. Periodontal disease can be managed with professional treatment by keeping the gum pockets as clean as possible so that bacteria does not get the chance to reseed. Without periodontal maintenance, toxins, tartar, and plaque can accumulate once again. For some patients, regular dental cleanings are not aggressive enough, so appointments every 3 months for periodontal maintenance are required.
Regular cleanings help prevent gum disease
With regular dental checkups and cleanings, gum disease can be caught and treated in its early stages. That’s why we recommend cleanings at least every 6 months for children and adults without pre-existing dental conditions.
Behind on dental cleanings? Call one of our locations and we’ll fit you in soon. Don’t give gum disease a chance to develop.