Gum disease is a condition that requires prompt attention and treatment. Without it, the disease will continue to advance and cause irreversible damage to the gums and teeth. Eventually, untreated gum disease will cause bone deterioration and loss of natural teeth. The good news is that gum disease is preventable, and even when it does occur, the effects are reversible as long as there is early intervention.
Gum disease is most frequently diagnosed by the dentist during a routine appointment. This is because the symptoms are often difficult to recognize as a serious problem. Still, it is important for patients to be aware of the potential signs of gum disease so they can have their mouth evaluated. The most common signs of gum disease are:
- Gum inflammation
- Bleeding gums
- Chronic bad breath
- Pockets between the teeth and gums
- Shifting teeth
Once a diagnosis of gum disease has been confirmed, treatment options can be discussed based on the stage of the disease.
Early gum disease: Gingivitis
When gum disease is caught in the gingivitis stage, it can usually be easily controlled. Treatment generally involves a thorough deep cleaning to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria. Antibiotics may also be necessary to eliminate any infection. Because gum disease is most frequently a result of ineffective oral hygiene, patients will be given instructions on how to brush and floss properly to keep the smile healthy. This is not meant as a way to make the patient feel bad, but rather simply helps reiterate the importance of proper oral hygiene techniques.
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Advanced gum disease: Periodontitis
Advanced gum disease often requires more invasive and aggressive treatment. At this stage of the disease, pockets have formed between the teeth and the gums where bacteria and tartar become trapped. Advanced gum disease can cause deterioration of the jawbone and loss of natural tooth. Treatment typically begins with a procedure known as scaling and root planing which cleans the teeth all the way down to the root. If patients have lost bone structure or gum tissue, soft tissue and/or bone grafts may be necessary before further restorative work can be completed.
The biggest takeaway for patients should be that gum disease could be prevented with good oral care at home and regular dental visits. For more information on the development of gum disease and treatment options, contact the Garland area team at Kings Dental today.