Gum disease affects more than half of American adults, and it is a serious threat to your oral health and well-being. Even gingivitis, the most minor stage of gum disease, can quickly progress into an irreversible case of gum disease if you do not seek the proper treatment and periodontal care. At Clermont Family Dentistry & Dentures, Dr. Buechele has years of experience in the treatment of gum disease and when you’re here, you can trust that you’ll receive proper treatment in a comfortable environment.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, which is also referred to as “periodontal” disease, is an infection of the gums that is caused by improper oral care, thought genetics can also be a risk factor. If you do not brush and floss properly, plaque and tartar can build up between your gums and teeth. The bacteria in plaque and tartar will then begin to attack the gum tissue, causing inflammation and infection.
The best way to prevent gum disease is to brush at least 2 times per day for two minutes, and floss once per day. You should also come in every 6 months for a professional cleaning.
How Gum Disease Develops
Plaque, a thin, colorless film, is caused by bacteria in your mouth and it develops on your teeth. Left untreated, bacterial plaque will harden to tartar. A rough, porous mineral buildup usually yellow or brown in color, tartar forms at and underneath the gum line. Tartar excretes the toxins that cause gum inflammation, resulting in the development of periodontal pockets that hold even more toxins and bacteria. This condition can lead to the loosening of the teeth, or even make teeth fall out. As the condition worsens, the accumulated toxins and bacteria move deeper into the jaw to destroy the bone that holds your teeth in place.
The Signs And Symptoms Of Gum Disease
Gingivitis is the most common and least severe stage of gum disease. It’s usually characterized by symptoms such as:
- Bleeding when brushing
- Inflamed or puffy gums
- Dark or red gums
- Halitosis (bad breath that won’t go away)
- “Soft” or spongy gums
- Gum or tooth tenderness and sensitivity.
Gingivitis does not cause any permanent or irreversible damage, and can often be resolved with a cleaning and a better oral hygiene routine. However, if it is left untreated, it will progress into periodontitis, which will cause permanent damage to your teeth and gums. Symptoms of advanced gum disease include:
- Loosening of the teeth
- Shifting of your bite
- Pain when chewing
- A bad taste in the mouth
- Sores on the inside of your mouth
- Gum recession that makes your teeth look “longer”
The damage done by advanced gum disease cannot be reversed, only halted. That’s why it’s so important to get treatment from Dr. Buechele as soon as possible.
A Bigger Problem About Gum Disease
Gum disease can wreak havoc on your mouth, but it can also cause other health concerns. Research has linked gum disease to problems such as heart disease, osteoporosis, stroke, and complications with diabetes. Because the symptoms are initially mild, many people don't realize they have gum disease, which can allow the condition to worsen. You may have an increased risk for gum disease if you smoke, have diabetes, take certain medications, endure excessive stress, or don't eat properly.
How Is Gum Disease Treated?
There are many different methods for treating periodontal disease:
- Scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) – This involves the removal of plaque and tartar from between your teeth and gums. The roots of your teeth will also be planed and smoothed, to help prevent the buildup of bacteria.
- Antibiotics – Antibiotics can be used to help control and destroy the bacteria that cause periodontal disease, and they are usually used alongside other gum disease treatments.
- Pocket reduction surgery – This surgery is used to remove the “pockets” that can collect plaque and bacteria, which helps control the progression of gum disease and preserve the underlying bone structure of your teeth.
- Gum flap surgery – Gum flap surgery is used to disinfect the area under your gums and remove inflamed tissue. Then, the gum tissue is re-attached.
My gums bleed when I brush. Should I be worried?
If you had bleeding on your arm or leg, you would check it out. Because bleeding gums can indicate a more serious problem like gum disease, you should make an appointment with your dentist to check it out.
Is gum disease hereditary?
Although there is a genetic component to gum disease, other factors, like lifestyle choices, age, and oral health habits, can also influence whether you develop this condition. Talk with your dentist to find out if you have other risk factors for gum disease.
What can I do to prevent gum disease?
The best prevention is taking proper care of your teeth and gums. Good brushing habits, regular flossing, and routine dental visits will go a long way to avoiding periodontal disease.
What is the cure for gum disease?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for gum disease. However, proper treatment and good home care can stop the progression of the disease and restore your oral health.
Get Periodontal Treatment Today
If you believe you may have gum disease, it is critical to get help as quickly as possible to prevent damage to your gums and teeth. At Clermont Family Dentistry & Dentures, we can handle most cases of gingivitis and periodontitis, and we work closely with a trusted, specialized periodontist if you have a more serious or advanced case of gum disease. Contact us now at (352) 242-1763 for an appointment, or come into our office at 12344 Roper Blvd, Clermont, FL 34711 to schedule your consultation in person.