What do you do when you’ve been diagnosed with gum disease, or suspect you might have the condition? Soreness, swelling and bleeding of the gums can all be signs of gingivitis or periodontal disease. While they’re progressive and can be quite destructive to your health, both can be treated.
What is Gum Disease?
The human mouth is full of bacteria, which work with other substances in the mouth to form a colorless, sticky plaque on your teeth. When you brush and floss, you’re getting rid of plaque, but you may miss some spots. When it’s not removed, plaque hardens into tartar which cannot be cleaned by brushing. Only a professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar. Build-up of tartar can eventually lead to infection of the tissues supporting your teeth, or gum disease.
Gingivitis and periodontal disease are the two primary forms of gum disease. Gingivitis is the first stage, which is when the gums are inflamed enough to become swollen and very red. When you brush or floss, your gums may bleed if you have gingivitis. It can be reversed with proper brushing at home and following the advice of your dentist, but you must be diligent in your oral care routine.
Without treatment, however, gingivitis progresses to periodontal disease. There are many different types of periodontal disease, but all of them affect the tissue responsible for holding your teeth in place.
Treating Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease
Your dentist will help you determine the best course of action for treating gum disease. Since gingivitis can be successfully treated at home, you’ll be given instructions on how to keep plaque and tartar at bay after a thorough professional cleaning.
For periodontal disease, the first step is a non-surgical procedure called scaling and root planing. Scaling is a process by which plaque and tartar are removed, then the roots are planed to remove rough areas where bacteria can gather. This process may take more than one visit, and your dentist can use a local anesthetic to eliminate any discomfort.
Once the teeth are deeply cleaned and planed, gum tissue can heal and reattach to the surfaces of your teeth.
At Pearland Family Dentistry, we take a different approach to managing your oral health. If you have or suspect you have gum disease, we’ll work together to find a treatment plan which minimizes the progression of gum disease and helps you maintain a clean, healthy mouth. Call today to schedule an appointment.