Gum disease is a common condition affecting millions of Americans each year. In the early stages it is typically mild, but if it goes untreated for too long it can lead to gum recession and even loss of teeth.
The good news is that gum disease is fully treatable and the effects are even reversible. How do you reverse gum disease? Here’s what needs to be done.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue caused by plaque buildup on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film made of food residue and bacteria that clings to the teeth. If it is not removed, plaque hardens into calculus which is more difficult to remove. Calculus contains mature bacteria that are more likely to infect the gums.
How Do I Know if I Have Gum Disease?
Symptoms of gum disease include:
- Red gum tissue. Infected gum tissue becomes inflamed and will look red instead of light pink as healthy gums should be.
- Swollen gums. Inflamed tissue will swell, leading to patches of gum tissue that are swollen or puffy.
- Bleeding gums. Gum disease causes the gums to bleed when you brush or floss your teeth. If you notice pink or red in the toothpaste you spit in the sink after brushing, you may have gum disease.
- Receding gums. The infected gum tissue will pull away from the teeth leaving some of the roots exposed. This can cause sensitivity to cold and heat.
- Sore gums. Irritated gum tissue is painful. If you have sore gums it may be due to gum disease.
- Loose teeth. As the gums recede from the teeth it can cause them to loosen in the socket and eventually even fall out.
How is Gum Disease Treated?
In order to treat gum disease the source of the infection must first be removed, which is the plaque and calculus on the teeth. A deep cleaning will be needed to remove plaque and calculus from underneath the gum tissue as well. Scaling and root planing are two procedures that are used to treat gum disease. Scaling involves removing calculus from the teeth and roots. Root planing involves smoothing the surface of the roots so that the gum tissue can attach more firmly without spaces for plaque to gather. An antibiotic may be applied directly to the gum tissue or taken in pill form to fight the infection.
How Can You Reverse the Effects?
When the gum tissue recedes from the teeth due to gum disease, the only way to correct it is with gum grafting. Tissue can be taken from another place in the mouth and applied to the teeth where the gum tissue has pulled away.
If you have loose teeth from gum disease, a periodontal splint can be used to provide additional support while the natural support structures heal. Teeth that are lost completely can be replaced with prosthetics such as dental implants, bridges, and dentures.
What is Gingivitis?
Gum disease in the earliest stage is referred to as gingivitis. This occurs when the infection is just beginning to take hold. You may have some inflamed gum tissue and some light bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth. Gingivitis is easier to treat than full blown gum disease because the infection is not as advanced.
Paramount Dental Arts Provides Treatment for Gum Disease
If you have any of the signs of gum disease, no matter how far it has progressed, Paramount Dental Arts can treat it and reverse the effects. We can put a stop to the infection and repair the damage to your teeth and their support structures to fully restore your oral health. We can also provide periodontal maintenance to keep gum disease from recurring.