Gum disease is inflammation and infection of the gums, the soft tissues that surround and support the teeth. It is most commonly caused by the buildup of plaque. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that produces toxins that irritate gums and erode enamel.
What Are the Stages of Gum Disease?
Gingivitis, or gum inflammation, is the first stage of gum disease. It is reversible with improved oral hygiene and balanced dietary choices. Periodontitis is the next stage of gum disease. It can be mild, moderate, or severe. In this stage, bacteria begin causing damage to the bone supporting your teeth.
What Are the Warning Signs of Gum Disease?
At your routine checkups, we will examine your mouth for signs of dental disease, including gum disease. But these are some signs you can watch for at home to determine whether or not you need to book an earlier appointment than your routine exam:
- Bleeding gums
- Loose permanent teeth
- Gum recession
- Swollen & tender gums
- Tooth sensitivity
Can Gum Disease Be Treated?
At the dentist, scaling and root planing is one of the most common treatments for gum disease. It’s essentially a deep cleaning for teeth to remove the buildup of plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) from below the gumline. After the cleaning portion of the treatment, the gums are recontoured and smoothed out to shrink pockets that have formed between the teeth and gums from the disease. For more severe cases of gum disease, antibiotics are used to treat infection and laser gum therapy eliminates bacteria and helps stimulate gum regrowth.
If gum disease is left untreated, it can cause tooth loss and systemic infection. It can also contribute to other serious health issues, like heart disease.
What Should I Do If I Have Gum Disease?
At Farmington Dental and Orthodontics, we offer gum disease treatment to help patients regain excellent oral health. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment.