Gum disease affects many people. As plaque builds on your teeth, it hardens to form tartar under the gum line. This tartar is filled with bacteria that can cause your gums to become inflamed and break down the bone that supports your teeth. Our dentists can treat your gum disease and have you back on your way to a healthy mouth.
Early-stage gum disease is called gingivitis. Without treatment, gingivitis can become worse. Periodontitis is a severe form of gum disease. During periodontitis, pockets form as your inflamed gums pull away from your teeth. Inside these pockets, debris and bacteria can collect and cause infection. If left untreated, the pockets can deepen and further weaken your gum tissue and bone. This can cause you to lose teeth, as your tissue and bone can no longer hold them in place.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
You should see a dentist if you notice anything different, uncomfortable, or painful about your teeth and gums. You may have gum disease if you have the following symptoms:
- Swollen gums
- Red or purple gums
- Gums that bleed easily from brushing
- Pain while chewing or brushing
- Bad breath or halitosis
- Moving teeth or receding gums
The severity of gum disease can be diagnosed by measuring the pockets between your teeth and gums. Healthy gums usually measure at a depth of about one to three millimeters. You may have gum disease if your gums measure at a depth of more than four millimeters.
Our dentists can perform periodontal cleanings. If your gum disease is mild, our dental team will begin treatment by scaling and root planing. Scaling scrapes away plaque and tartar from your teeth and gum line. Root planing removes the byproduct of bacteria that causes inflammation, and it smooths root surfaces so gums can affix to the tooth once more. This deep cleaning gives your gums a chance to heal.
After this initial treatment, your teeth and gums may feel sensitive or tender. Our dentists may recommend medication to prevent bacterial infection or help with any pain. You may be prescribed a topical gel, mouth wash, or oral antibiotic. Our dentists will want to see you again soon to monitor your progress and decide if treatment needs to be continued.
A more advanced case of periodontitis may require surgery. Our dentists will let you know if surgery is recommended and talk with you about your options.
- Flap surgery, or pocket reduction surgery, involves lifting a section of tissue off of the gums in order to clean the roots. After cleaning, the tissue will be stitched back together.
- Soft tissue grafts take tissue from the roof of your mouth and apply it to the affected area. You may need a gum graft surgery if gum disease has caused your gum line to recede. A soft tissue graft replaces your missing gum tissue.
- Bone grafting replaces the damaged bone and stabilizes the tooth. You may need this surgery if periodontitis has harmed the bone around your infected tooth. A bone graft can be made from your own bone or synthetic material.
- Guided tissue regeneration allows your bone to grow back with help from a material placed between the bone and tooth. The material encourages bone growth by stopping tissue growth in the area.
Preventing Gum Disease
You can prevent gum disease through good dental hygiene and routine visits to your dentist. When you brush and floss regularly, you remove plaque from your teeth and stimulate your gums. Your teeth and gums get a deeper cleaning every time you go to the dentist. Seeing a dentist twice a year helps you fight against gum disease.
At Ukena Kufahl Family Dental, you’ll be treated like family at every visit. We listen to your needs to help you make the best decisions for your smile.
Call us to schedule an exam today.