Gum disease is an infection of the gum structures that surround and support your teeth. Brushing and flossing, as well as regular visits to your dentist, are the best prevention strategies for avoiding gum disease but if you do develop it, Top Health Dental can assist you with the appropriate treatment. Let’s take a closer look at gum disease and how it can be treated.
Gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss in adults around the world and it is largely preventable if you follow sound dental hygiene.
What Causes Gum Disease?
The primary cause of gum disease is plaque. Plaque is a layer of bacteria that accumulates on the teeth, usually concentrating close to the gum line. It’s really important to remove plaque with good dental hygiene because if it hardens, it can cause irritation and infection. When this happens it is known as calculus or tartar, and can only be removed by your dentist.
When your immune system is aware of the plaque build-up in your mouth it generates an inflammatory response, which is why you might experience swelling and tenderness around the infection area when you have gum disease.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an infection that starts in your gums. There are two primary stages: gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease and is typified by red, swollen gums. It only affects the surface layers of your gums – especially the area where your tooth and gum meet. If you have gingivitis you may find your gums bleed easily when you brush or floss. You may also have bad breath or a persistent bad taste.
If gingivitis is not treated and left to progress is can develop into a more serious stage of gum disease called periodontitis.
When you have periodontitis, the infection spreads to include the covering of your tooth root, as well as the bones and fibres that connect the bone to your tooth root.
When you have periodontitis, the gum surrounding your teeth weakens, and spaces may open up between your teeth and gums. Known as periodontal pockets, these spaces start to harbour more bacteria, causing more swelling. If periodontitis is not treated your teeth can loosen in your mouth and fall out.
It is possible for the untreated gum disease infection to spread to other teeth or parts of your mouth, or affecting the bone in your jaw, resulting in bone loss.
What Are The Symptoms Of Gum Disease?
In some instances, it is possible to have gum disease and not know. The best way to manage this is to visit your dentist regularly, who will inspect your gums and teeth for any early signs of gum disease.
For other people, red, swollen or tender gums may be noticed. A bad taste or bad breath may also be noticed despite brushing and flossing correctly.
What Are The Risk Factors For Gum Disease?
Unmanaged diabetes and smoking are two primary risk factors for gum disease.
Is There A Treatment For Gum Disease?
Gingivitis can be cured, however, periodontitis can only be controlled from progressing further and is not reversible.
When you visit your dentist for gum disease treatment or routine treatment, he or she will inspect the health and condition of your gums along with your teeth. You may need to have some x-rays taken so your dentist can see what is going on below your gum line.
The best course of treatment for gum disease is for your dentist to remove all traces of plaque and tartar from your teeth. Your dentist may need to do some scaling and root planing to remove any infection material from the roots of your teeth. Your dentist will also need to straighten out the roots of your teeth so they do not harbour more bacteria and leave it prone to gum disease in the future.
If poor dental hygiene was the primary reason for developing gum disease it would be a good idea to have your dentist demonstrate best practices for brushing and flossing.
If you have experienced bone loss because of gum disease, you may need a bone graft. If your gums have receded, your dentist may perform a soft tissue graft or gum re-contouring procedure.
Would you like to learn more about what is gum disease and how you can treat it? We’d love to hear from you. Early detection is essential for successful gum disease treatment. Please contact us as soon as possible for an appointment: (02) 8776 3232.