Periodontal Gum Disease Treatment Fitchburg
What is Gum Disease?
Gum (periodontal) disease is a disease that affects the bone and the gingiva that hold your teeth in the jaw. Gum disease starts very slowly, you may not even notice that there is an issue at first. Gum disease starts with your gums becoming red, possibly some bleeding while you are brushing/flossing and possibly a bad taste. This is why your recare visits are important! We check for any signs of gum disease at each recare visit and once a year, we will do a full charting to check every area and make sure we are seeing no issues. Proper brushing and flossing will also help to keep the gums healthy!
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is caused by a build-up of plaque and bacteria between the teeth and gums. When left untreated, the gums become infected and if gum disease progresses, it becomes increasingly difficult and painful to treat. Progressed cases of gum disease can also lead to tooth loss.
Symptoms Of Gum Disease
Depending on the progression of the disease, symptoms of gum disease may include:
- Swollen and sore gums
- Red or inflamed gums
- Gums that bleed easily
- Gums that recede from the teeth
- Loose teeth
- Chronic bad breath
- Pain when chewing
Causes And Stages Of Gum Disease
Gum disease is often caused by a buildup of plaque, a film composed of bacteria that coats the teeth after eating. Plaque that is not removed by brushing the teeth can eventually irritate the gums. When left untreated, gum disease can progress in the following two stages:
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. At this stage the gums may be swollen, red and inflamed and may bleed easily. Gingivitis can usually be easily treated by a thorough cleaning by a dentist to remove plaque, and proper follow-up care. Patients that maintain proper oral hygiene at home can keep gums healthy and reduce bacteria build-up.
If left untreated, gingivitis transitions into periodontitis which is a more serious stage of gum disease. At this stage, the gums are extremely inflamed and start to pull away from the teeth. Teeth may begin to loosen due to bones and ligaments breaking down.
Treatment Of Gum Disease
A patient is normally referred to a periodontist to treat gum disease. Gum disease is treated based on the severity and progression of the disease. Treatment may include:
Scaling And Root Planing
A deep-cleaning method that removes bacteria from below the gum line and the tooth root. The roots of the teeth are smoothed and cleaned and plaque and bacteria are removed.
Antibiotics or antimicrobial medications may be used to fight infection and reduce the size of the gum pockets that have occurred because of the gum disease. As the infection subsides, swelling and inflammation are reduced.
If other methods of treatment are ineffective, flap surgery may be performed to lift away gum tissue so that it can be cleaned underneath. Gum or bone grafts may also be performed to help regenerate any bone or gum tissue that may have been damaged or lost due to periodontitis.
Prevention Of Gum Disease
Plaque is the most common cause of gum disease that can be prevented with proper dental hygiene. Other recommendations to prevent gum disease include:
- Don’t smoke
- Eat a healthy diet
- Floss and brush teeth daily
- See a dentist regularly
Is Gum disease Painful?
Gum disease can become painful once it progresses in severity. As it progresses, you will notice more redness of the gums, more bleeding, more plaque and tarter build-up. As this continues to progress further, you may begin to feel your teeth becoming loose as well. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss if it progresses and destroys the bone that holds the teeth in the jaw. There are bacteria in the plaque that cause this to happen, as it worsens, more bacteria continue to grow and keep this progressing. The pain/sensitivity that people experience is once the teeth become loose, there is little bone left to support those teeth. This loosening, while chewing, allows the teeth to shift and that is why you get the sensitivity.
Is Gum Disease Contagious?
We are asked if this can be spread to others while it is active. The answer is it is possible if the bacteria are transferred to the new mouth and not cleaned properly. Most times, we do not see this spread between people, but it is possible. We are also asked if this can be cured. Again, we can stop the disease from causing more damage, but we cannot bring back any of the gingiva or bone that has been destroyed. So, you will always be at a higher risk to develop problems again… This is why we may recommend more frequent recare visits- usually every 3 months after someone has had problems. This allows us to be able to check you more frequently and make sure we don’t allow any more damage to happen.
In conclusion, gum disease starts out with little noticeable issues, but can become a major problem leading eventually to a loss of your teeth. If you have any questions, or think you may be starting to develop issues, give Bettina a call at (978)-343-4031 to schedule an appointment for a full evaluation!