The mild version of gum disease is called gingivitis. When your dentists say you have gingivitis, only your gums are infected. If you do not treat this gum disease, the infection can spread beneath your gum line and into the bone. This is when it has become the more serious form of gum disease, which is called periodontitis.
Learn the Signs of Gum Disease and the Periodontal Treatments for It
Patients should be aware of the symptoms of gum disease before it becomes a serious problem. Dentists can treat both mild and more serious forms of gum disease with periodontal treatments.
Red & Swollen Gums
One of the first signs that a patient has gum disease is having red and swollen gums. Gum disease will usually start with an inflamed gumline. Patients may also notice that the gums are tender or bleed easily when they are brushing and flossing.
A patient’s mouth is warm and wet and can be home to millions of bacteria. The bacteria will feed on the plaque left on teeth, so the more plaque a patient has, the more bacteria will spawn. Bacteria can release a toxin to irritate the teeth and the gums and will typically have a foul smell.
If a patient has noticed that their teeth are looking longer, this can be a symptom of gum disease. Teeth are not generally growing longer, but the gums could be shrinking. When the bone begins to break down, the patient’s gums will start to separate from the teeth, making a pocket.
If drinking something cold makes a patient wince, then the teeth may be sending a message. Teeth sensitivity is a symptom of gum disease that will usually occur with receding gumlines.
Shifting or Wiggly Teeth
If a patient has noticed a change in the way their smile looks, it could be a sign of gum disease. The disease will attack the bones holding the teeth in place and cause them to loosen or shift.
Deep Cleaning Treatment
The first treatment for gum disease is a thorough cleaning. Deep cleaning will go beneath the gum line. This is called scaling, and a dentist will be scraping off plaque and tartar from above and beneath the gums. The dentist may also use root planing. This involves smoothing out the teeth’s roots so the gums can reattach to the teeth.
If a dentist cannot fix the gum disease with a thorough cleaning, then the dentist may recommend surgery. A gum graft surgery is when a surgeon takes tissues from another part of the patient’s mouth and uses it to cover any exposed tooth roots. This can help prevent further bone loss, help with decay, and help stop tooth sensitivity.
A dentist might also recommend flap surgery. During flap surgery, the surgeon will lift the gums so that the tartar beneath the gum line is exposed. The surgeon will stitch the gums back in place afterward. The stitches will keep the gums tightly against the teeth to help stop new tartar from occurring.
Taking Care of Gums & Teeth
If you are worried about developing gum disease or you have started noticing any of the symptoms, you need to take care of your teeth and gums. This involves a good hygiene routine, including brushing, flossing, and seeing the dentist regularly. If you suspect gum disease, contact your dentist as soon as possible.
Request an appointment or call Integrated Dental Care at (610) 600-9745 for an appointment in our Exton office.