Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is an infection of the gums surrounding your teeth and is one of the top reasons for tooth loss in adults.
The disease is challenging for patients to identify on their own, so the Perfect Smile team checks for signs during each regular checkup.
Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque.
If the plaque is not removed with flossing, brushing and regular dental checkups, it will keep building up and create toxins that can damage the gums. There are two stages of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease. The gums become red and swollen; bleeding easily. At this stage, the disease is treatable and can usually be eliminated by simply brushing and flossing regularly.
If left untreated, gingivitis will advance into periodontitis, which is when the gums and bone that support the teeth become irreparably damaged. Teeth can become loose due to periodontitis and they may even fall out or need removing.
Treatments for gum disease usually vary depending on the severity of each individual case.
If the disease is caught in the early stages of gingivitis, and no damage has been done, one to two regular cleanings will be recommended. You will also be given instructions on improving your daily oral hygiene habits and having regular dental cleanings.
This procedure helps gum tissue to heal and pockets to shrink. Medications, especially medicated mouth rinses and an electric toothbrush may be recommended to help with healing and control infection. If the pockets do not heal after scaling and root planing, periodontal surgery may be needed to reduce pocket depths, making teeth easier to clean. Your dentist may also recommend that you see a gum specialist.
Working together, you and your dentist can choose the appropriate steps to make your dental visit as safe and comfortable as possible, and to help you keep a healthy smile.