Over half of all American adults struggle with some degree of periodontal disease. This incredibly common chronic illness is typically caused by poor oral hygiene, though in some cases, genetics may be to blame. Regardless of the cause of your gum disease, however, it is important that you start on treatment for it.
If left untreated, gum disease can lead to a long list of dangerous health complications, including heart attack, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and even death. When we here at Carolina Smiles Family Dentistry meet a patient who has periodontal disease, we like to get them started on an immediate periodontal care regimen to help manage their periodontal disease.
Signs of Gum Disease
Periodontal disease occurs when the bacteria in your mouth are allowed to grow unchecked against your teeth and your gums. When you develop that sticky, white film on your teeth, you are at risk of gum disease. This film, called plaque, releases acids and toxins that can attack your gums and teeth. If you do not remove it regularly through brushing and flossing your teeth, gum disease can occur.
Early-stage gum disease is known as gingivitis. When gum disease is still at this stage, it can be cured. Signs of gingivitis include red and swollen gums, bad breath (also known as halitosis), and blood in your saliva after you brush and floss your teeth. Please note that you cannot count on noticing any pain as a symptom of gingivitis, as it is typically a painless condition.
More advanced gum disease is called periodontitis. At this point, it cannot be reversed and must be managed instead. Signs of periodontitis include a receding gumline, bleeding, red or purple gums, and tenderness of the gums. You may start to develop loose teeth and eventually, suffer from tooth loss.
Treatment for Periodontal Disease
If we determine that you have gum disease, there are many different treatment options that we can offer to help you treat it. Nonsurgical treatments include scaling and root planing and antibiotic treatments. Scaling and a root planing is one of the more common treatment options that we provide to our patients.
Scaling and a root planing is a non-surgical treatment for gum disease. When we scale your teeth, we will use a special tool to scrape all of the hardened calculus from your teeth. We will also remove it from underneath your gumline, too. After we remove the calculus, we will then start the root planing. This part of the procedure includes removing the material underneath your gums and smoothing down your tooth roots. This can not only help prevent the buildup from coming back; it will also make it easier for your gums to reattach to your dental roots.
Some patients may need surgical intervention for their gum disease. This can help with more advanced periodontitis and relieve the symptoms of this disease. These procedures include gum grafts, pocket reduction surgery, and for more severe cases, a bone graft.
Gum disease is very common, but that does not mean it should be ignored. If you would like to learn more about periodontal care for gum disease, or you would like to set up an appointment with us here at Carolina Smiles Family Dentistry, please give us a call today at (803) 310-4707!