Did you know that half of all Americans have some form of gum disease?
Gum disease starts as a simple problem with minor symptoms and quickly becomes worse. In its most advanced form, gum disease can result in tooth loss and can even bring about heart disease, strokes, and other problems. Discover valuable information about one of the most prevalent threats to your oral health, gum disease.
The development of gum disease starts similarly to the development of cavities, but in the case of gum disease, the plaque accumulates at the gumline. When you eat sugar, it sticks to your teeth and attracts bacteria that eat it and leave acids behind. As this bacteria and plaque gather in the gums, the gum tissue becomes infected. This results in gum disease, a dental problem that can be very severe in its later stages.
Early stages of gum disease can be difficult to diagnose, primarily because there isn’t always pain involved. However, other symptoms can suggest that a patient has gum disease, especially when found in combination. Here are some of the primary signs of gum disease:
To understand gum disease, it’s crucial to know that it has three stages, each with very different symptoms. The symptoms vary greatly in severity and range from gums that are irritable to the touch to tooth loss. Here are the three stages of gum disease:
The initial stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis. While you won’t sustain permanent damage to your gums when you have gingivitis, you’re likely to experience some irritating symptoms, including red, swollen gums that are sensitive to the touch. You may also start to see the development of infected pockets of pus in your gums, which signifies that your gum disease is about to progress into the next stage.
When gingivitis goes untreated, it evolves into periodontitis, a far worse form of gum disease. Periodontitis is characterized by the infected pus pockets that are now more prevalent and spreading throughout the mouth. The worst that can happen during periodontitis is permanent damage to the tissues that hold your teeth in place, meaning you may feel that some of your teeth are loose when you touch them.
The most severe stage of gum disease, advanced periodontitis, comes with truly harsh, undesirable symptoms. At this point, the gum disease was neglected for a long period of time, and surgery may be required to fix the problem. At this stage, tooth loss is a possibility, so it’s strongly recommended to seek help from your dentist as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
If caught early on, the effects of gingivitis can be reversed by maintaining good oral hygiene habits and scheduling regular teeth cleanings. Professional cleanings are routinely performed during routine dental check-ups at Family Implant & Reconstructive Dentistry.
If left untreated, gum disease can develop into a more serious stage called periodontitis. This typically requires frequent deep cleanings to restore the health of your teeth and gums. Deep cleanings allow us to help keep your mouth free of harmful bacteria and infection, preventing additional problems in the future.
During your appointment, Dr. Grubb will assess your oral health, examine your entire mouth, and let you know if a professional deep cleaning is needed. This procedure is commonly referred to as root planing and scaling, performed to address periodontitis.
If you suffer from gum disease, it’s likely you’ll require a professional deep cleaning, or root planing and scaling. During this procedure, one of our experienced hygienists will use special tools to gently remove plaque and tartar build-up from your teeth and beneath the gum line. We’ll even make sure to tackle those hard-to-reach areas your toothbrush just can’t reach.
Dr. Grubb will then smooth out the roots of your teeth and remove any remaining bacteria in the area. Finally, we’ll thoroughly polish your teeth for a fresh, healthy-feeling smile. Our outstanding team will also set aside time to explain and teach you patient-friendly ways to improve your at-home oral hygiene routine.
There are several things you can do to help keep your teeth and gums healthy enough to last a lifetime. Dr. Grubb recommends that patients should:
If you’ve had any gum problems, Dr. Grubb may recommend coming in for additional cleanings to ensure your smile is in the best state of health.
You’ll likely require long-term, continuous maintenance to ensure your mouth is free of infection and harmful bacteria. However, most patients can expect to see considerable improvements just after a few days following treatment. While the pain and bleeding will dissipate with time, receding gums can’t be reversed without surgery.
Discomfort can be managed by taking over-the-counter painkillers while applying a cold compress to the area can reduce swelling. If you’re experiencing pain two weeks after your procedure, contact our Havre de Grace office immediately at (410) 939-5800 so we can get to the bottom of the problem.
Gum disease is an all too common problem among Americans of all ages. While there are various causes, excellent oral care at home is critical for preventing it. By understanding how it develops and its signs and stages, you can clearly see the importance of treating gum disease at its offset. Contact our dental team in Havre de Grace, MD to schedule your next appointment.