Do you experience sore or bleeding gums when brushing or flossing your teeth? Do you have severe pain when chewing food? These symptoms can be warning signs of gum disease- gingivitis or periodontitis. It is important to address these conditions at the earliest stages to prevent future complications. Gum disease starts with the growth of bacteria in the mouth and, over time, without intervention, can lead to the destruction of soft tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. In severe cases, gum disease can even lead to tooth loss.
What causes gum disease?
Gum disease is the result of plaque and tartar deposits near the gum line. Tartar, filled with microbes that release toxins, can affect your oral health by decaying the soft gum tissues. External trauma to the gums, severe cavities, root canal infection, etc., can also cause gum disease. In the early stages, gum disease manifests as gingivitis or swollen and inflamed gums due to plaque and tartar buildup. If left untreated, it can progress into periodontitis, a more severe gum disease that can require surgical treatment.
The main causes of gum disease are:
Plaque and tartar
Certain medications and medical conditions
Poor oral hygiene habits, like improper brushing and flossing
Family history of dental/gum disease
What are the symptoms?
Knowing the symptoms of gum disease can help you identify the problem before it progresses. The main symptoms of gum disease are:
Redness, inflammation, and the swelling of gums
Bleeding of the gums
Severe bad breath
Receding gum line
Loosening of the gums, resulting in deep pockets between and around teeth
Discharge of pus from the gums
Loose or mobile teeth
Various treatments are available to treat gum disease, depending on the severity of the disease, the medical history of the patient, and the overall health of the patient. The treatments include:
Oral cleaning: Routine cleanings at your dentist's office remove plaque and tartar from the teeth and root surfaces that can build up over time and can help prevent the development of gum disease.
Scaling and root planing: When plaque and tartar build up beneath the gum line, it can cause the gums to swell and separate from the teeth, causing pockets to form. When this happens, scaling and root planning are required to remove the build-up. Scaling and root planning is a deep cleaning process where plaque and tartar are scraped away from below the gum line using an ultrasonic scaling appliance. This is in a non-surgical procedure done under a local anesthetic, and rough spots on the tooth root are made smooth (planing). Planing is done to eliminate bacteria and provides a clean surface for the gums to reattach to the teeth.
Extraction of decayed tissues: Our dentists are certified in the state of the art LANAP protocol, a treatment using a highly specialized laser to remove infected and decayed gum tissues. For more information, click here.
Medication: Medication such as Arestin is used near the decayed tissues and in the deep gum pockets to limit the infection's spread.
Gum graft: In cases of gum recession, grafting healthy gum tissue to the receded area can help to restore and thicken the gums. This is done by transplanting healthy tissues from a different part of the mouth to the areas of recession. After the healing period, the newly grafted tissues will integrate with the existing tissue.
Guided tissue regeneration: In severe cases of periodontitis, the bone surrounding the teeth can be destroyed and may need to be regenerated. To do this, a surgical procedure is used to open or "flap" the gums and expose the damaged bone underneath. After cleaning the affected area of bacteria, a bone graft and protective membrane are placed in between the gum tissue and bone. This creates a framework for your body to regenerate healthy bone.
The treatment option for gum disease is determined by the dentist after evaluating the patient's general condition and the severity of the disease.
For more information, please call us at 303-798-1068 or schedule an appointment online, and our highly skilled team would be happy to assist you.