Periodontics (Gum Disease)
Periodontics is the focus of gum disease, which includes a number of inflammatory conditions of the gums and tissue supports of the teeth, such as gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease; it is an inflammation of the gum that occurs at the necks of your teeth. It causes gums to appear red, swell, and bleed.
Periodontitis is a chronic infectious disease that affects the periodontium or the tissues that surround, support or sustain and protect the teeth. Plaque spreads below the gum line where it irritates the tissues around your teeth, causing an inflammatory response that breaks down those same tissues. When the teeth lose the support that maintains them they subsequently fall.
Who Suffers from Gum Disease?
The majority of people will have at least early gum disease at some point in their lives. Luckily it is reversible with improved oral hygiene. If you notice irritation of your gums and tend to bleed when you brush your teeth, you could very well have gingivitis.
If you have any of these symptoms, it’s possible you have one of the stages of periodontitis:
Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth or floss
Red, tender, or swollen gums
Bad taste in your mouth
Buildup of plaque or tartar on your teeth
Pain when chewing
Inflammatory response throughout your body
If you suspect you have gum disease, schedule an appointment with your dentist.
Treating Gum Disease
Early gum disease is easily treated with improved oral hygiene and professional teeth cleanings from your dentist. Occasionally factors such as disease, habit, or hormonal changes make you more susceptible to gum disease, so these should also be addressed with your dentist if existent.
Later stages of gum disease are also treated with better oral hygiene and professional cleaning, but you may also require antibiotics or surgery to fight persistent infections.
A procedure called flap surgery is sometimes recommended to allow an oral surgeon to clean out the deposits under your gums and rid them of infection.
Recovering from Gum Disease
Most people will begin to see improvement in gum health soon after adopting better oral hygiene if they have gingivitis.
If you required antibiotics or surgery to treat gum disease, your dentist can give you a timeline of when to expect to see improvement and fully heal. Usually this occurs within a matter of weeks though.
Benefits of Treating Gum Disease
Gum disease causes pain, bad breath, a gross taste in your mouth, loose teeth, and eventually tooth loss. Few people want to live with these symptoms for long or risk the embarrassment and debilitation of missing teeth.
Regular dentist visits will help prevent and stop gum disease before it becomes uncomfortable or embarrassing for you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Gum Disease
Brush your teeth, floss, and use mouthwash every day. Avoid excessively sugary foods that promote bacterial growth. And visit your dentist for regular check ups.
It’s likely. Bleeding gums is a sign of unhealthy gums. If you brush and floss daily and still bleed, you might need a softer toothbrush. Some people are also more susceptible to gum disease because of genetic factors or other health conditions. Work with your dentist to determine if you are at higher risk for gum disease and what to do about it.
Not necessarily. Gum disease is relatively easy to reverse, especially if you catch it early on. Improve your oral hygiene habits immediately and see your dentist to stop gum disease in its tracks.