Millions of American suffer from periodontal disease, or, as it is more commonly known, gum disease. The effects of gum disease can range from mild reddening or swelling of the gums all the way to periodontitis, in which gum disease has worsened to the point that it can cause extreme dental pain and permanent damage to both teeth and the underlying bone structure.
Gum disease starts as gingivitis, which is marked by symptom such as red, swollen gum that may bleed when brushing. Infrequent or improper tooth brushing is the leading cause of gingivitis as this allows plaque and tartar to build up on the surface of teeth. This buildup is the ideal environment for bacteria, and this bacterial growth causes the symptoms. At this stage, no permanent damage has been done and the condition can usually be reversed by a combination of proper brushing, flossing, and regular professional teeth cleanings by your dentist.
Gingivitis to Periodontitis
However, if left untreated, gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. In this stage, the gums have begun to pull back from the teeth, creating pockets that quickly become reservoirs of bacteria that grow and propagate through the gum tissue. This bacteria then spreads toxins throughout the gum tissue, which can rapidly lead to intense pain, swelling, and loose teeth. If left untreated, the condition can not only cause you to lose teeth but can permanently damage the underlying soft tissue and bone structure.
There are a range of options used to treat gingivitis.
Here are a few of them:
Get a Professional Teeth Cleaning
If it is very early stage gingivitis, treatment may be as simple as having your dentist perform a thorough cleaning. To prevent gingivitis from recurring, learn proper brushing technique, and brush your teeth 2-3 times a day. Flossing is also an important tool in fighting gingivitis.
A prescription mouthwash containing the anti-bacterial drug chlorhexidine. If you are in the early stages of gum disease, your dentist can prescribe a mouthwash for you that can kill the common bacteria that cause gingivitis.
Your dentist can perform a procedure known as a deep cleaning with scaling and root planning. In this procedure, which normally takes series of visits to complete, the dentist will perform an extremely intense cleaning procedure which includes smoothing rough spots on the teeth – which can harbor bacteria – and a complete polishing of the teeth, which makes it harder for plaque to attach to the surface of the teeth. The dentist will also thoroughly examine the pockets around the teeth and check for abscesses, signs of infection or tissue damage, and other issues that need to be treated.
In conjunction with a deep cleaning, your dentist may also perform a procedure called gingival curettage, which involves cutting out the soft tissue lining the pockets. This is done in order to eliminate damaged or infected gum tissue.
In severe cases, the dentist may recommend a procedure known as a flap curettage. In this procedure, the gums are cut away from the teeth (hence the term ‘flap curettage’) so that in addition to performing a thorough cleaning, the dentist may also perform more intensive corrective actions, such as reshaping of the bone, gums, and soft tissue supporting the teeth.
If the periodontitis has advanced to the stage that it has permanently damaged the underlying bone and soft tissue structure to the point that teeth are loose or falling out, the dentist may recommend first treating the underlying periodontitis and then replacing those teeth with dental implants.
At Vann Family Dental, we provide Arestin® Gum Treatment to help reduce bacteria that causes gum disease. We have a number of options for you when it comes to taking care of your gums and any existing gum disease you may have.
For more information, contact us today to see what we can do to help you improve and maintain your dental health. Make your appointment online for your convenience or call Vann Family Dental now!