What is gum disease?
Gum disease is an infection of the gums that can progress to affect the bone that surrounds and supports your teeth. Swollen and bleeding gums are early signs that your gums are infected with bacteria. If nothing is done, the infection can spread. It can destroy the structures that support your teeth in your jawbone. Eventually, your teeth can become so loose and you might lose them.
Gum disease is caused by bacteria in dental plaque. This plaque leads to swollen, bleeding gums, a sign of gingivitis (the earliest stage of periodontal disease). Damage from periodontal disease also can cause teeth to become loose. This is a sign of severe periodontitis (the advanced stage of disease).
How can you prevent gum disease?
- Proper brushing and flossing
- Using antibacterial toothpaste and mouthwash to kill bacteria
- Regular visits to dentist for cleanings and checkups
Are there any “warning signs” for gum disease?
Gum disease is considered a “silent” disease because it is usually painless. Consult your dentist if you experience any of the following:
- Loose or separating teeth
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- Bridges or partial dentures that no longer fit properly
- Fillings that have become defective
- Recurring redness, puffiness, tenderness or swelling of your gums
- Gums that bleed while brushing teeth, using dental floss or biting into hard foods (like an apple)
- Gums that are pulling away (receding) from your teeth, causing them to look longer
- Persistent bad breath
- Persistent metal taste in your mouth
How do we treat gum disease?
Treatment of your gum disease is largely dependent upon the stage of your infection and the amount of deterioration involving your gums, teeth, supporting tissues and bone.
After reviewing your digital X-rays and performing a thorough periodontal exam, Dr. Amee will discuss your treatment options and answer any questions in detail. The two most common types of treatment for gum disease are:
1. Non-Surgical Treatment
The most well-known type of non-surgical treatment is known as scaling and root planing. This under-the-gum procedure involves a careful removal of plaque and tarter from the tooth roots. During this procedure, your hygienist will remove harmful bacteria and irritants from deep beneath your gums to prevent plaque from accumulating again.
2. Surgical Treatment
Dr. Amee may perform periodontal surgery to eliminate bone infections or to regenerate lost bone. The most common surgical treatments include Pocket Reduction and Bone Grafting.