Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common problem that affects almost half of all adults over 30. In fact, it is one of the most common issues patients face if they haven’t visited a dentist regularly.
Gum disease is caused by plaque and tartar building up along and below your gum line, causing pain, bleeding, redness, and later on tooth, gum, and bone loss. Some common causes of gum disease are poor oral hygiene, smoking, hormonal changes, diabetes, and certain medications. Some people are also genetically predisposed to gum issues.
Fortunately, gum disease is preventable, treatable, and can even be reversed if detected early.
Early Stage Gum Disease: Gingivitis
If you begin to notice pain around your teeth, bleeding while brushing, or gum recession, schedule a visit to your dentist.
If caught early, gum disease can be treated using minimally invasive procedures and lifestyle changes. Some potential treatments for gingivitis include a more diligent oral healthcare routine under the supervision of your dentist.
Your dentist might also prescribe an antimicrobial mouthwash for a few weeks instead of a regular mouthwash to help clear out harmful microbes and bacteria that could cause an infection.
If the disease has progressed by the time you visit your dentist, you may require deep gum cleaning to reverse the effects of the disease. Deep periodontal cleaning involves scaling and root planing.
Your dentist uses a manual scraper or ultrasonic device to clean the tartar and plaque from above and below your gum line during a scaling procedure. A root planing treatment smooths the tooth root’s surface below the gum line, minimizing the available area for bacteria and plaque to build up. This process also allows your gums to reattach to the root more securely.
Advanced Gum Disease: Periodontitis
If left untreated, your gum disease can progress into periodontitis. This is a more serious form of the disease, and it can lead to tooth loss, gum loss, and even bone loss in your jaw.
This stage is more challenging to treat and often cannot be reversed. However, an oral surgeon can perform flap surgery where the plaque and tartar forming spots are surgically removed, and the gum is refitted around the teeth to prevent further deterioration.
For more severe cases, bone and tissue grafts can be used to replace what has been lost to the disease, and dental implants or dentures can help replace any lost teeth.
Periodontitis is a serious infection. The best way to prevent gum disease and invasive treatments like surgery is to make lifestyle changes and improve your oral health routine. Quit smoking, brush and floss twice daily, eat a diet low in refined sugars, and visit your dentist regularly for an exam and cleaning.
Schedule Your Dental Check-Up Today at Blue Island Smiles
Gum disease and other oral health problems can develop and progress quickly. The team at Blue Island Smiles can evaluate your gums and help you find the best treatment options. If it has been more than six months since your last dental check-up, contact our practice today at (708) 371-3844 to schedule a dental cleaning and evaluation.