If you have been told you have periodontal (gum) disease, you’re not alone. Many adults in the U.S. currently have some form of the disease. The main cause of periodontal disease is plaque, but other factors affect the health of your gums and include age, smoking/tobacco use, genetics, stress, medications, poor nutrition, the way your bite comes together and more.
Gum diseases – Stages and symptoms
Plaque is a biofilm of bacteria that is formed over teeth surface. When plaque is not removed from the oral cavity from time to time, it hardens to become tarter, which cannot be cleaned through normal teeth brushing and flossing. The bacteria in tarter are capable of inflaming and infecting soft gum tissues.
The first stage of the disease involves the inflammation of the soft gum tissues. This is called gingivitis. The bacteria feed on the food debris to inflame the gums. This leads to softening of gums, swelling, bleeding when brushing or flossing teeth and teeth sensitivity. If left untreated, the infection can proceed to the next stage named periodontitis.
Periodontitis is the stage where the bacteria start to infect the gums. The gum tissues are detached from teeth surface to form pockets. Food debris accumulation in the pockets can increase to worsen the condition. The bacteria can go deeper within the gum-line to reach the root of the teeth and cause infection. In the worst stage, periodontitis can lead to teeth loss.
Patients should quickly contact our dental office if they note one of following symptoms of gum disease.
- Bad breath
- Gum tenderness
- Swelling of gums
- Teeth sensitivity
- Formation of pus
- Loosening of teeth
Periodontal care – What does it involve?
Firstly, our dentist makes a note of the symptoms of gum disease and the patient’s history of oral health. Thorough examination of gums is performed using instruments such as periodontal probe. The probe helps in finding the depth of gum pockets that says how healthy the gums are. On identifying gum disease, our dentist recommends a treatment process and sets a plan. Gum disease cannot be cured at once. There may be a number of visits required to ensure that the bacteria are kept in control. Following are some of the procedures we follow as part of periodontal maintenance and cure for gum disease.
Dental prophylaxis or dental cleaning, as it is commonly called, is a procedure performed as part of preventive oral care.
Scaling and Root Planing
As part of periodontal maintenance and treatment for gum disease, our dental professionals perform scaling and root planing at our office. If Scaling and root planning does not resolve the disease then you may be referred to a periodontist (gum specialist) for futher evaluation.
If you note any symptoms of gum disease, contact our office to make an appointment with our dentist. We can work together to stop the progression of the disease and make sure that you continue long term dental health.