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 Florida location: in 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.
What Causes Gum Disease?
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.
Other risk factors include:
- Diabetes and other health conditions
- Medications that cause dry mouth
- Getting older
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.
The Stages of Periodontal Disease
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.
What Are The 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 Before and After
How is Periodontal Disease Treated?
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.
What Will Happen if I Do Not Seek Treatment for Gum Disease?
Left untreated, gum disease can progress to periodontitis. This advanced gum disease often results in loose and shifting teeth, chronic bad breath, and tooth loss. Allowed to progress further, periodontitis can result in jawbone necrosis.
There is significant evidence to suggest periodontitis is a contributing factor to many systemic illnesses and diseases. These include certain types of cancer, heart attack, stroke, hypertension, gastric ulceration, and dementia. Treating gum disease before the infection spreads beyond the mouth can help to reduce your risks for these potentially serious issues.
How Should I Prepare for Gum Disease Treatment?
There are different treatments for gum disease. The treatment that will produce the best results for you depends on the severity of your gum disease and other factors specific to your case.
At The Smile Centre, we offer scaling and root planing, gingivectomy, and osseous surgery to treat gum disease. While sedation is not necessary for all of these, if you are undergoing sedation, you will need to arrange for a ride to and from our office.
In preparation for treatment, we may recommend that you stop taking certain medications and supplements. In addition, tobacco users will need to stop using products with nicotine. We will discuss preparations specific to your needs during your first appointment, but special preparation is not typically required for gum disease treatment.
Is Gum Disease Treatment Painful?
Gum disease treatment can be performed under local anesthetic. However, if you are nervous or require a more extended procedure, we can discuss using dental sedation to help ensure your comfort.
There may be tenderness, swelling, and mild discomfort for a few days after your procedure. These things should subside with proper care and time.
What Is Recovery Like After My Treatment?
Recovery from gum disease treatment will depend on the type of treatment you receive. Recovery from scaling and root planing is negligible. Most people can resume normal activities right away. Recovery from gingivectomy can take up to one week, during which there may need to be some minor changes in diet to help prevent damaging the gums.
Recovery from osseous surgery can take up to one month. There will be restrictions on certain foods during this time, along with special instructions on daily care to help prevent irritation. Surgical recipients will also need to avoid blood thinners and vasoconstrictors in the weeks leading up to and out of surgery.
How Can I Prevent Gum Disease?
Daily care is the best way to prevent gum disease. This means brushing at least twice a day, but preferably after every meal, and flossing at least once. It is best to floss before you brush your teeth. Evidence suggests this removes a more significant amount of plaque, food particulate, bacteria, and debris.
Risks for gum disease increase as much as five times in smokers. Heavy alcohol drinkers are also at a much higher risk of developing advanced gum disease. Not using tobacco products and significantly limiting your alcohol intake will help prevent gum disease.
Visiting our office every six months for a professional cleaning and examination can also help to prevent gum disease. During these visits, we remove plaque and tartar from hard-to-reach surfaces, including below the gum line. These routine visits help to prevent decay, infection, and disease, and allow us to remove surface stains and restore brilliant luster to your smile.
Gum Disease Be Prevention
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.
Nervous About Dental Treatment? We Offer Dental Sedation.
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.
Contact Us To Arrange A Consultation & 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 office location: in University Aire Plaza at 941-351-4468.