When people think of oral health they tend to think about their teeth. But your gums are also an important part for the health of your mouth, and even the rest of your body! If you don’t properly care for your gums, you’re likely to eventually experience what’s known as periodontal disease. And while periodontal disease treatment is available, prevention is far better than the cure!
Read on to learn more about periodontal disease treatment and frequently asked questions surrounding periodontal disease.
What Is Periodontal Disease
Also known as periodontitis, periodontal disease is a severe gum infection that happens as a result of unmanaged bacteria in the mouth. While it starts off relatively benign, anyone experiencing gum disease will eventually develop symptoms that can cause discomfort or lead to severe ramifications.
Periodontal disease is unfortunately quite common due to how vulnerable the gums can be to lack of proper attention. It’s essentially always caused by a lack of proper oral hygiene. It’s true that some chronic illnesses can make you more susceptible to gum disease, but in almost every case, proper dental care routines will keep it at bay.
How Do I Know If I May Have Periodontal Disease?
While gum disease may begin with little or no symptoms, it won’t stay that way. Most people can identify the signs of gum disease fairly easily, as they tend to be uncomfortable or unsightly.
Some of the common symptoms of periodontal disease include:
- Discolored gums (red or purple in color)
- Swollen gums
- Gums that bleed when gently brushed
- Tenderness in the gums
- Tooth pain when chewing
- Gums receding
Most symptoms of periodontal disease worsen over time. In the early phases, you may only experience one or two symptoms like light bleeding or tenderness. As it progresses, the bleeding will happen more easily, your gums may hurt to brush, and you may even realize that your teeth feel loose! If you develop any of these symptoms, you need to see your dentist right away.
Periodontal Disease Treatment
Once you’ve developed periodontal disease, whether it’s early stage or severe, your dentist can help fight back against the bacteria and plaque that’s irritating your gums. Here are the most common techniques for fighting periodontal disease.
A simple and straight forward periodontal disease treatment, scaling is a fancy way that a dentist or dental hygienist removes plaque from your mouth. They often use specialized tools that are more effective at removing plaque and tartar, because a toothbrush is no longer capable of fully cleaning these from your mouth.
By removing the offending plaque, your gums will become less inflamed as they no longer need to fight back against so much bacteria. Scaling is something that you might experience even if you have good dental care to help remove areas that may have evaded your brushing routine. However, for serious periodontal disease cases, scaling will be more comprehensive throughout your mouth to let the dentist remove as much plaque as they possibly can.
Another common issue caused by periodontal disease is separation of the gum from the lower part of your visible tooth. This creates gaps for bacteria to hide, which exacerbates gum disease and also leaves your teeth less secure in your mouth.
Root planing is a technique where the dentist will clear the lowest visible surface of your teeth. By giving your gums a healthy and easier surface to reattach, they will naturally heal in a way that’s beneficial to your oral health.
These “pockets” created by separating gums are a serious risk to your dental health. Bacteria is already challenging enough to remove from your mouth through brushing and flossing; giving bacteria a place to essentially hide against your gums makes it more likely that you would reach the more severe levels of gum disease that could lead to tooth loss!
How Can I Prevent Periodontal Disease
There are two important (albeit simple) steps to helping to prevent gum disease and stop yourself from needing extensive periodontal disease treatment:
Brush and Floss Regularly
Simple, like we said! The reality is that periodontal disease is unlikely to occur in mouths that are properly cared for. Brushing and flossing removes a majority of the bacteria from your mouth, so doing it twice daily will minimize the chances your gums will need to defend themselves. By reducing bacteria, you eliminate all or at least most of the inflammation that happens. This stops periodontal disease in its tracks.
Visit Your Dentist
Just like brushing and flossing, this step is as simple as it is important. Unlike cavities which can be extremely painful and obvious, periodontal disease is often subtle until it reaches critical mass. If you’re identifying severe periodontal disease on your own, chances are you’re already at risk for some of its most serious effects.
A dentist, on the other hand, can spot the signs of gum disease early on – often before it has any long-term effect on your health. Regular dental visits are the best way to not only treat periodontal disease, but to prevent it from ever happening in the first place!
Do You Have Dental Health Questions? Schedule an Appointment!
If you have dental health concerns or are just looking for information, the professionals at Walbridge Dental provide complete family dental care to families in the Millbury community. Contact us online to set up an appointment now or call us at 419-836-1033.
Connect on Social Media!