If you have gum disease, or suspect you might have gum disease, you’ll want to take care of it as soon as possible. Let’s take a closer look at what gum disease is and how it can occur, some signs you might have it, and how to treat gum disease with the help of your dentist.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease comes in mild and more serious forms, although both are attributed to a buildup of plaque around and under the gumline which causes the gums to become infected.
Gingivitis, the milder form, occurs when the infection is restricted to the gums themselves. If gingivitis is left untreated, the infection can get under the gumline and infect the bones, causing periodontitis.
Gum disease can increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, pneumonia, osteoporosis, and even cancer. To avoid these dangerous consequences, it’s best to identify gum disease early and treat it as soon as possible.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
If you are concerned you may have gum disease, you may be experiencing some of the following symptoms:
- Red, swollen gums: gums may bleed when brushing or flossing, will feel tender and uncomfortable, and may even have visible sores
- Teeth sensitivity: you experience sudden sharp discomfort or pain when you eat or drink hot or cold food items
- Shrinking gums: gums appear to be receding, exposing more of tooth over time
- Bad breath: bacteria that feeds on plaque and tartar releases toxins which can cause odor — significant odor can be a sign of a serious form of gum disease, periodontitis
- Loose or shifting teeth: weakening and receding gums can loosen their hold on teeth, causing them to become wiggly or shift in the mouth
One or more of these symptoms may not mean you have gum disease, but it’s a good idea to schedule a visit with your dentist to assess the cause. If your dentist is able to diagnose gum disease, they will likely encourage you to start treatment right away.
How to Treat Gum Disease
Unfortunately, there’s no simple treatment for gum disease like applying a cream or taking a pill.
Both forms of gum disease require a dentist’s help to cure.
To start treatment, your dentist must first thoroughly clean your teeth. This means removing all plaque and tartar above and below the gum line. Your dentist will use a process called scaling to remove the tartar that has built up. They may also have to smooth out rough parts of the tooth into even planes so the gums can reattach.
Gum disease is easier to treat if caught early. In some mild cases, your dentist will be able to remove the tartar and prescribe antibiotics for the infection. In more extreme cases, surgery may be required to access tartar deep below the gum line by cutting away a flap of gum to reach further down. Exposed bone or parts of your teeth’s roots will need to be repaired with a gum graft.
Once the gum disease is treated, your dentist may prescribe a special mouthwash to keep bacteria at bay while the area is still sensitive. It will be up to you to maintain regular dental hygiene of brushing, flossing, and seeing your dentist for regular cleanings to prevent gum disease in the future.
If you think you might have gum disease, don’t wait to be treated. At Mogren Dental, you can schedule your own appointment online, so you’re seen as soon as possible. We’re here to help keep your mouth healthy, give us a call or schedule your appointment today!