What is gum disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums surrounding your teeth. Gum disease is one of the top reasons for tooth loss in adults, and because it is virtually pain-free, many patients do not know they have the disease. During each regular checkup, your dentist will check for signs of periodontal disease by measuring the space between your teeth and gums.
What causes gum disease?
Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque (a sticky form of bacteria that forms on the teeth). If the plaque is not removed (by flossing, brushing, and regular dental checkups), it will continue to build up and create toxins that can damage the gums. Periodontal disease forms just below the gum line and creates small pockets that separate the gums from the teeth. Periodontal disease has two stages: gingivitis and periodontists.
Certain factors can increase a patient’s risk of developing periodontal disease, including:
- An abcess or pimple on the gums.
- The tooth may be become overly sensitive to hot and cold.
- Severe tooth ache.
- Swelling or tenderness around the tooth.
While patients with periodontal disease often appear asymptomatic, some signs your gums may be at risk are:
- Presence of tooth decay, reaching the inner ‘pulp’ of the tooth.
- Constant bad breath.
- Tender, swollen, or bleeding gums.
- Pain when chewing.
- Loose or sensitive teeth.
- Receding gums.
The main goal in treating gum disease is to control the infection which causes it. This can be done using a number of different methods, depending on the severity of the disease and the extent it has reached. Treatment may require patients to change certain behaviors, either short or long-term. Patients may be asked to quit smoking, or change their oral hygiene habits, or avoid certain foods.
Dr. Normatov will remove plaque and other bacteria by a deep-cleaning method called scaling and/or root planning. Scaling is the process by which tartar build up is scraped off the gums and the gum line. Root planning rids the tooth of certain rough patches where bacteria tends to gather. This process together will remove much of the bacteria associated with gum disease and the gums will begin to heal themselves within days to weeks. In certain extreme cases, a laser may be necessary to remove the plaque and tartar build-up. This process is often seen as more efficient and requires less strain on the gums than traditional deep cleaning methods.
In even more extreme cases and depending on your specific situation, prescription medication may be needed in conjunction with cleaning to fully cure the gum disease.
In order to prevent gum disease in the future:
- Brush regularly, twice a day, with fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss regularly removing between teeth and remove excess plaque build-up.
- Schedule regular appointments with Dr. Normatov and Soft Touch Dental
- Avoid smoking.