Periodontal (gum) disease is one of the most widespread dental issues among modern-day Americans. Because the symptoms are often minor, many people who have this condition do not realize it. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to severe tissue damage and tooth loss. Thankfully, our team at Oral Implants & Reconstructive Dentistry is equipped to treat every stage of gum disease. Together, we can keep your mouth healthy for a lifetime!
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an infection of the soft tissues in the mouth. It occurs when bacteria go below the surface of the gums and cause infection. Even with an excellent oral hygiene routine, it is still possible to develop an infection.
Over time, plaque and tartar develop on the surface of the teeth. Brushing and flossing are excellent ways to clean your enamel. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to effectively clean around the edge of the gums. As these hard substances form along the gum line, they provide excellent places for bacteria to grow.
Eventually, these bacteria may migrate below the gums and cause an infection. As this infection spreads, the gums may become sensitive, bleed, and even pull away from the teeth. Over time, this can lead to severe gum recession and tooth loss.
Are There Different Levels of Gum Disease?
The majority of those who suffer from gum disease have a variation known as gingivitis. Gingivitis is a mild form of the condition and causes a slight infection of the gums. It can cause discomfort, sensitivity, redness, and bleeding. Generally, we can address gingivitis with a simple treatment.
As the infection spreads, it may cause pockets of bacteria to form between the gums and teeth. This can cause the gums to recede and pull away from the teeth. At times, the infection may spread from the gums to the tooth roots. In severe cases, this can lead to tooth loss. Severe gum disease is known as periodontitis and often requires surgical treatment.
How Do You Treat Gum Disease?
Treatment for gum disease depends entirely on the severity of the infection. Gingivitis can typically be treated with a simple procedure called scaling. Scaling is done during every routine cleaning. This treatment involves removing the plaque and tartar away from the edge of the gum line. After scraping these hard substances from the surface of your tooth enamel, your hygienist will disinfect the area to kill any remaining bacteria. Once the plaque and tartar are gone, your gums will be able to heal.
If the infection has spread throughout the mouth and into the tooth roots, we may need to perform a surgical procedure known as root planing. During this treatment, Dr. Heller or Dr. DiDonato will make a small incision to remove any severely damaged tissue from your gums and roots. A gum graft may be necessary to repair the areas most affected by the infection.
If you would like to learn more about periodontal (gum) disease, the symptoms, and treatments available, please call our office at 614-885-1215. We would be happy to answer any of your questions!