Do you see a bit of pink in the sink when you brush your teeth or feel tenderness at the gumline? If so, you may have a condition called gum disease, or periodontitis. It’s an infection of the gums that damages the soft tissues in the mouth. As a progressive condition, it will worsen over time, leading to periodontal disease, a more advanced and dangerous form. Without treatment, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and bone infection.
Gum disease develops because of a buildup of bacteria in the mouth. There’s always some level of bacteria present. However, with good oral hygiene, the amount of bacteria present is controlled and overall safe. When a person does not brush and floss properly, or doesn’t come in for teeth cleanings, this can allow that bacteria to flourish. As it does, it invades the soft tissues of the mouth, into the roots of the teeth, and beyond.
It can even travel through your body once it gains access to the bloodstream. If that occurs, it can attack the muscles of the heart as well as lead to damage in the brain.
Periodontitis is mostly preventable. Yet, once it occurs, it can be hard to treat. Professional care is the best way to bring it back under control to minimize the advancement of this condition.
Symptoms of gum disease worsen over time. Your gums are healthy if they are pink and are snug against the tooth. If there is any room between the gum and the tooth, that’s an indication of injury or gum disease. Other signs include:
As gum disease worsens into periodontal disease, you may also notice more pain, significant bleeding, and teeth that seem very loose. You may also see gaps forming between the teeth. Your teeth may look longer than normal. Sometimes, there are also alignment changes.
The most common cause of gum disease is the buildup of plaque from bacteria. The plaque causes gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease. Over time, this leads to painfully red gums as the pockets caused by bacteria form. These pockets are located along the edges of the tooth, near the gums. The pockets are what create the gaps you have. Soon, the gums cannot hold the teeth in place any longer.
It’s always important to protect your oral health. Gum disease can be aggressive and leads to a wide range of complications. It has been linked to respiratory disease development, coronary artery disease, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and diabetes. Prevention includes:
Treatment is highly effective if caught early in the gingivitis phase. This may involve teeth cleaning and, in some cases, medications to manage the infections.
When periodontal disease occurs, there is a need for specialized treatment. Periodontal therapy often involves deep cleaning of the teeth to remove all of those pockets of bacteria and plaque. This is done by pulling away the gums, cleaning the surface of the tooth and root, and then placing the gums back in place. This can also be very effective.
Bacteria like this can also damage teeth. If that occurs, it may be necessary to have the teeth extracted that are beyond repair. Other teeth may need other types of restorative dentistry services to bring back the strong, healthy smile you had.
If you have painful gums or bad breath that doesn’t go away, reach out to Cedar Walk for an appointment. Our team will provide comprehensive exams, x-rays, and proper cleanings to help control the bacteria buildup. We can also provide periodontal disease treatment if your condition has worsened. Expect outstanding help and support from us every step of the way.
Get started by calling for an appointment with your dentist today. Then, start working on improving oral hygiene habits that can influence overall health.