What is Periodontal Disease (gum disease)?
Periodontal disease is caused by bacterial plaque that forms on the teeth. The plaque will irritate the gums, causing them to become tender, red and swollen. The first symptom you may encounter is bleeding gums. If your teeth and gums are not properly cared for and the plaque is not removed, it can calcify around the gum line. The bacteria slowly destroys the gums, causing them to pull away from your teeth. As the condition worsens, the damaged gums can no longer provide a barrier to your underlying bone and nerves. If the condition becomes severe, it can lead to bone loss and tooth loss as a result of the bacteria invading the roots of your teeth.
Typically, patients don’t even realize they have gum disease as it is often painless during its early stages. This makes regular dental visits even more important as your dentist can recognize the signs of the disease early on. Prevention, early diagnosis and treatment are key to stopping gum disease and maintaining a healthy smile.
How can I prevent gum disease?
The best treatment for gum disease is prevention. Here are a few tips to help you prevent gum disease:
- Brush and floss your teeth regularly, especially after you’ve eaten. This will help prevent the growth of bacteria that causes gum disease.
- Don’t smoke.
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.
- Don’t drink alcohol in excess.
What are the symptoms of gum disease?
- bleeding gums from brushing or flossing
- bad taste or odor in your mouth
- changes in tooth position or spaces developing
- gums are red, puffy and tender
- teeth are loosening
- receding gums
- vague, itchy feeling around the gums
- pus between the teeth
If you’re experiencing any of those symptoms, contact our office for an appointment.
What are the treatment options for gum disease?
The type of treatment required depends on the progress of the disease. At an early stage of gum disease we will recommend a professional cleaning followed by a daily brushing and flossing regimen to remove the excess plaque and bacteria and allow your gums to heal.
Advanced stages of gum disease will require a personalized plan to control the progress. The use of antibiotic medications and surgical intervention may be required in addition to regular oral hygiene procedures like scaling and root planing. In this case, it is important to visit our office regularly to monitor the condition and re-evaluate the treatment plan accordingly.