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Gum disease develops when plaque is not removed from the teeth. Plaque is a sticky, colorless film that is made up of bacteria, food debris, and saliva. As plaque builds up, it hardens and becomes tartar. When tartar collects on the teeth, it can cause the gums to become inflamed. Over time, the gums begin to recede and pull away from the teeth. This allows bacteria and plaque to collect below the gum line. Eventually, the gums begin to pull away from the teeth enough to expose their roots. This is a sign of advanced gum disease.
Gum disease is a progressive condition. Without proper treatment, the supporting tissues of the teeth, gums, and jawbone will break down. If the condition is detected early, it may be possible to reverse the damage. That’s why it’s important to see your dentist regularly for checkups.
The early stages of gum disease are reversible. Once the condition progresses, however, it becomes more difficult to treat. That’s why it’s so important to stop smoking, change your oral hygiene routine, and get treatment immediately.
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. It occurs when bacteria from the mouth produce toxins. These toxins irritate the gums, causing inflammation. You may notice bleeding when brushing and flossing. You may also notice swollen and red gums.
Periodontitis is a serious form of periodontal disease. It affects the bones that support your teeth. If periodontitis is left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss. Gum disease starts when plaque and bacteria build up between the teeth. Plaque hardens into tartar, which can damage the gum line and cause problems.
If gum disease isn’t treated, oral bacteria can reach the bloodstream. From there, it can travel throughout the body and cause damage elsewhere.
Gum disease can be present without any symptoms. That’s why it is important to visit your dentist regularly. When symptoms of gum disease do appear, they typically include:
Our treatment recommendations are based on a thorough periodontal exam. It includes a full periodontal charting, using a small ruler to measure pocket depths, and a visual examination of the gums, teeth, and bone around each tooth. We use a periodontal probe to measure the pocket depths around each tooth. The pocket depths are measured in millimeters around each tooth to determine the health of the gums and bone.
Periodontal disease can cause bleeding, swelling, and discomfort. The earlier you treat the disease, the easier it is to treat. That’s why it’s important to schedule regular checkups with your dentist. Early treatment can prevent tooth loss and other health problems.
Good oral hygiene is the best thing you can do to maintain your periodontal health. This includes regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing. A balanced diet and avoiding tobacco use are also helpful.
If gum disease is caught early, treatment can be relatively straightforward. Your dentist may recommend that you use mouthwash and toothpaste that contain fluoride, which can help prevent plaque from building up. They may also provide cleanings every six months.
If gum disease has progressed, your dentist may recommend Scaling and Root Planing.
Because gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss, it’s important to seek treatment. Scaling and root planing is one of the most common and effective treatments for gum disease. This procedure involves removing plaque and tartar from the teeth and gums and then smoothing the roots of the teeth. Scaling removes plaque and tartar from the surface of the tooth, and root planing removes plaque and tartar from below the gum line.
Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical procedure. Local anesthesia may be used along with medicated rinses. In cases of severe gum disease, root planing may be done with a laser. Laser root planing is less invasive than the traditional method and is less painful.
People can prevent gum disease with good oral hygiene. This includes brushing twice a day, flossing, rinsing, and following a good diet. In addition, visiting the dentist regularly for professional cleanings and exams is an important step in preventing gum disease.