Your gums surround and protect your teeth. They are a vital part of your mouth. Like all parts of our bodies, gum tissue is susceptible to infection, inflammation, and disease. The experienced Florida general dentists at The Smile Centre examine your mouth to check for signs of gum disease. Our hygienists evaluate and take measurements of the gum’s pocket depth and recession to determine the health of your gums. With the doctor’s careful evaluation, the type of hygiene treatment will be recommended.
If you think you may be experiencing the symptoms of gum disease, or if you are just ready for a checkup to detect any early signs of oral health problems, please contact us at one of our two Florida locations: in South Trail at 941-366-3636, or University Aire Plaza at 941-351-4468. We offer various sedation options to make your dental visits more comfortable and easy. We understand many patients have dental anxiety or fear, so we work hard to make sure you are at ease and have a great experience.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease – also called periodontal disease – is an infection of the gum tissue. It is a progressive disease, so it will worsen if left untreated. Gum disease is caused by poor dental hygiene. You may have a family history of gum disease, which increases your risk.
Other risk factors include:
- Diabetes and other health conditions
- Medications that cause dry mouth
- Getting older
Poor oral hygiene allows dental plaque to flourish. Plaque is the sticky film that is constantly forming on your teeth. Plaque contains bacteria. Without professional dental care, plaque will harden into tartar, which is more difficult to remove. It is often brown or pale yellow found between the teeth, along the gumline, on the front or backside of teeth, or even below the gumline.
The bacteria in plaque cause teeth cavities and gum infection. When you eat, the bacteria start breaking down the sugar in the food. In the process, the bacteria produce acid, which essentially eats away at tooth enamel and inflames gum tissue. Over time, the problem progresses to the infection known as gum disease.
The bacteria’s presence in your mouth is natural. Fluoridated toothpastes and floss are critical to reducing their activity so that we can prevent oral health problems. It is important to floss every night before bed and brush your teeth at least twice a day. Our dental professionals also strongly encourage the use of an electric toothbrush, Waterpik, and tongue cleaner.
Gum disease is classified into two stages:
- Gingivitis, in which the gums are inflamed
- Periodontitis, in which gingivitis has advanced and led to inflammation around the tooth
Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease. In periodontitis, the gums begin to pull away from the teeth and form pockets. It is important to treat periodontitis because it can lead to tooth loss and other issues. Untreated gum disease will cause the gums to pull back, creating pockets of diseased tissue. The teeth become less supported, and bacteria can spread even deeper.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Potential signs of this oral health problem include:
- Gums that bleed easily
- Red, tender, and swollen gums
- Chronic bad breath or bad taste in your mouth
- Loose teeth; misaligned bite
- Teeth sensitivity
- Gum recession (gums pulling away from teeth)
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Tooth loss
If you have any reason to suspect your gums may not be in the best shape possible, or if you are due for your routine checkup, please contact our dental office to schedule an appointment.
In the very early stages, you may not experience any symptoms. That is why it is so important to go to the dentist for routine exams, so we can look for these very early signs of oral health problems. Catching issues early is always a good thing because the treatments at that point may more readily halt gum disease in its tracks.
Gum Disease Treatment
Our skilled dentists can determine the right treatment for the stage of gum disease a patient is experiencing. Our team of dentists and hygienists want to help you treat and maintain any gum disease. We pride ourselves in a judgement-free environment and look forward to helping you get back on track to a healthy smile. How to treat typical gum disease:
Scaling and Root Planing: This type of deep cleaning removes plaque and tartar from below the gum line and smooths rough tooth roots where bacteria gather. This treatment is typically performed when the pocket depths are 5mm+ and bone loss is evident. There are often areas of bleeding gums. Sometimes, an antibiotic is used to reach the base of the deep pockets.
Osseous Surgery: This procedure removes infected gum tissue. The tooth roots get a deep cleaning. The bone beneath the teeth – if it was damaged by gum disease – may need to be re-shaped and smoothed. Healthy gum tissue is reattached to the tooth.
Gingivectomy: In this procedure, unhealthy gum tissue is removed and healthy gum tissue is reattached to the tooth. A gingivectomy can be performed by various techniques. Some examples are atraumatic surgical gingivectomy, gingivectomy by electrosurgery, and laser gingivectomy. This procedure is also commonly performed to treat a gummy smile due to gingival overgrowth.
We know that many people feel nervous about the idea of any dental treatment, including those for gum disease. These procedures are safe, effective and performed as gently as possible. You will be made comfortable beforehand, and we make sure you have complete aftercare instructions. Our team of hygienists are very skilled with a gentle touch and calming nature. We offer nitrous oxide or oral sedation for dental procedures to help you feel more comfortable and relaxed. We will make sure you are at ease for your dental visits.
With early intervention, you may not even need gum disease treatment. The key is to go to your regularly scheduled checkups and contact the dentist if new symptoms should arise. After an exam, the dentist will know the status of your oral health and clearly explain the diagnosis. We make sure each patient knows all of the treatment options that will work for their particular scenario. Our treatment coordinators will work with you to fit your dental needs into your budget and schedule.
Also, keep in mind the value of prevention. Please remember to floss once every day (before bed) and brush at least twice daily to combat gum disease and cavities. Your at-home hygiene routine complements the professional cleaning performed by our hygienists. Check out our Home-Care Routine blog on our Blog Page for more information on oral hygiene routines at home.
Arrange a Consultation and Exam
If you have any questions about gum disease or if you are ready for a checkup, please call The Smile Centre at one of our two office locations: in South Trail at 941-366-3636, or University Aire Plaza at 941-351-4468.