Gum disease is a serious problem. While gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease, typically only causes symptoms like bleeding gums and gum recession, more advanced cases of gum disease can cause life-threatening infections and result in the loss of multiple teeth.
It has been estimated that around half of all U.S. adults suffer from some degree of gum disease, so it’s important to get the periodontal care you need and ensure that your gums are healthy and free from periodontitis. At the office of Wesley C. Wise, DDS & Assoc., LTD, we offer periodontal care in Oak Park, and can help diagnose, treat and resolve your gum disease.
Gum disease is caused by a failure to maintain proper oral hygiene. If you do not brush and floss regularly, plaque will build up on your teeth and between your gums. Over time, this calcifies into tartar (also known as calculus). The bacteria present in plaque and tartar will then begin to infect your gums and cause them to become swollen and red. Over time, this infection will continue to spread if it is not treated.
The best way to prevent gum disease is by brushing at least twice a day for two minutes while using proper technique and flossing once per day to remove plaque from between the teeth. In addition, a 6-month oral exam and teeth cleaning helps you maintain healthy gums and allows for the removal of plaque and tartar buildup.
Gum disease is easy to recognize. In mild cases of gum disease, there are some common symptoms you should look out for.
• Gum swellingChange in gum color (reddish, purplish gums)
• Halitosis (bad breath) that does not go away after brushing
• Bleeding from the gums and pain when brushing or flossing normally
• Gum recession (making teeth look longer)
Mild cases of gingivitis usually require only a deep cleaning and a proper oral hygiene regimen for treatment. However, more advanced cases of gum disease, are more difficult to treat. Here are a few symptoms of periodontitis:
• Loosening or movement of teeth in sockets
• Loss of one or more teeth
• Change in bite, or how teeth fit together
• Pus between the teeth
• Sensitivity to heat and cold
• Sores on the inside of the mouth
• Teeth shifting or moving when chewing
Treating advanced periodontitis usually requires surgery and in some cases, periodontal maintenance must be undergone every 3-6 months for the rest of your life, which is why early prevention is so important.
Advanced gum disease may require multiple different treatments, including surgeries. However, more moderate cases may sometimes be resolved without surgery, using the following common gum disease treatments:
Deep cleaning (scaling and root planing) – Using scrapers and other professional grade tools, plaque and tartar are removed from between the teeth and the gumline. In addition, the roots of the teeth are smoothed to make it more difficult for bacteria to re-infect them.
Antibiotic treatment – Oral antibiotics may be placed in the mouth under the gums, or taken orally to help eliminate gum disease.
Periodontal maintenance – Periodontal maintenance is administered every 3-6 months to patients who still have gum disease. Cleaning will be performed both above and below the gum line, the roots will be planed and cleaned, and antibiotics are administered. X-rays may also be required to diagnose the extent of bone and gum loss.