Here at 359 Dental & Orthodontics, we are committed to helping you achieve the best oral health possible. Keeping tabs on the state of your gums is one of the ways we do this, while also helping you avoid unnecessary pain and expense in the future!
Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is an infection of the gums surrounding your teeth. It is a leading cause of tooth loss in adults and often goes unnoticed, as it is virtually pain free. To avoid the unnecessary loss of teeth, remember to keep your regularly scheduled dental exams, so our experienced team can check for signs of gum disease and keep your mouth as healthy as possible.
What Causes Gum Disease?
This preventable disease that forms just below the gum line is caused by the buildup of plaque on the teeth. If not regularly removed through proper flossing, brushing and professional dental cleanings, plaque bacteria can create toxins that damage the gums. In the early stages of gum disease, referred to as gingivitis, the gums become red and swollen and bleed easily. Gingivitis is treatable and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing. If left untreated, gingivitis will progress into periodontitis. In this stage, the bacteria causes small pockets that begin to separate the gums from the teeth and irreversible damage is caused to both the gums and bones that support the teeth, often resulting in loose or lost teeth.
While anyone can develop gum disease if not maintaining good oral hygiene, the following can increase risk:
- Certain medications (ex. Steroids, anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, oral contraceptives, calcium channel blockers)
- Chewing tobacco or smoking
- Crooked teeth
- Ill-fitting bridges
- Old fillings
Signs and Symptoms
Because gum disease sometimes goes unnoticed, it is important to know the warning signs. The gums may exhibit symptoms such as tenderness, swelling, redness, pulling away from the teeth, or may even develop pus. Permanent teeth may begin to loosen or separate. Sometimes, changes in a person’s bite or in the way partial dentures fit can signal gum disease as well as persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth. Talk to our compassionate staff if you experience any of these indicators and let us help you revive your smile!
Prevention and Treatment
The best defense against gum disease involves good habits at home as well as consistent dental appointments. Establish a good oral hygiene routine at home through regular brushing, cleaning between the teeth with proper flossing, and eating a balanced diet. Then let our skilled team examine your oral health and provide regular deep cleanings.
If you do end up with gum disease, determining the appropriate treatment will depend on the severity of the case. However, typical treatments include at-home periodontal trays that deliver medication directly to the gums, scaling and root planing (deep cleaning), periodontal surgery and laser gum surgery, and in severe cases, dental implants.
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