Gum Disease + Periodontal Therapy
Healthy gums are the cornerstone of a healthy smile and overall healthy body. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums surrounding your teeth. Research has shown an indirect link between gum disease and periodontitis to overall health, including increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. It’s also one of the top reasons for tooth loss in adults because it can be virtually pain-free, going undetected by many patients. During your regular checkup, you dentist will check for signs of periodontal disease.
Causes of Gum Disease
Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth. If the plaque is not removed by flossing, brushing, or hygiene appointments, it will continue to build up and cause damage to your gums through the creation of toxins. Periodontal disease forms just below the gum line creating small pockets that separate the gums from the teeth. There are two stages of periodontal disease: gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease. At this point, gums can become red and swollen, and may bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is treatable and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing.
If left untreated, gingivitis will advance into periodontitis. Periodontitis causes the gums and bone that support the teeth to become damaged, which can lead to teeth feeling loose or falling out, even needing to be removed by a dentist.
Treatment of Gum Disease
Treatment of gum disease varies depending on the severity of the individual’s case. Treatments typically include:
Non-surgical treatments like at-home periodontal trays and scaling + root planing
Periodontal surgery and laser gum surgery
Preventing Gum Disease
By practicing good oral hygiene at home and attending regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations, you can significantly reduce your chances of ever getting gum disease. Remember! Brush regularly, clean between your teeth by flossing, and schedule regular dental visits to keep your gums and smile healthy and happy.
Are certain people more at risk for developing periodontal disease?
There are certain factors that increase a patient’s risk for developing periodontal disease. Those include:
Smoking or using chewing tobacco
Certain types of medicines like cancer therapy drugs, oral contraceptives, calcium channel blockers, steroids, and anti-epilepsy drugs
Crooked teeth that make it harder to properly clean
Are there any symptoms I should be on the lookout for?
Gum disease can have signs and symptoms, including:
Gums that bleed easily
Red, swollen, tender gums
Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
Persistent bad breath or bad taste
Pus between your gums or teeth
Loose or separating permanent teeth
Changes in the fit of your partial dentures or in the way your bite fits together
You don’t have to lose your teeth to gum disease.
At University General Dentists, our doctors will always check your gums for signs of gingivitis or advanced gum disease. If your gums are showing signs, we will work with you to create a treatment plan that works for you. We even work with preferred specialists who can offer those with advance periodontal disease laser therapy.
Reach out to us today and let us help you fight gum disease!