While most people know that if they don’t have good oral hygiene, they could get a cavity, fewer people know about gum disease. Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is a condition in which the gums become chronically inflamed. Without treatment, patients might begin to suffer from gum recession, bone loss, and eventually, tooth loss.
Luckily, our doctors at Clagett Dental are armed with the tools and knowledge necessary to put a stop to gum disease before it begins. When patients schedule an appointment at our office, they can keep their gums safe from decay.
What Is Gum Disease?
More specifically, gum disease is when the bacteria found in plaque begin attacking the gums in addition to the teeth. These bacteria cause the gums to become inflamed and infected, causing a number of unpleasant symptoms.
Our doctors perform checks for gum disease at every cleaning and appointment, so if an Elizabethtown patient has gum disease, they’ll be able to catch it early on. With the right treatment, patients can make a full recovery and restore their oral health.
How Is Gum Disease Different Than Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is another common term thrown around with gum disease. However, they aren’t quite the same thing. Gingivitis is basically the first stage of gum disease, in which the gums are inflamed just around the necks of the teeth.
While patients might notice some blood in the sink after brushing their teeth, gingivitis is not as serious as full-blown gum disease, as the teeth will still be firmly in place. That being said, gingivitis can quickly transform into gum disease, so it’s not a condition to take lightly. Our doctors will be able to tell the difference between the two and advise patients on the next course of action.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Gum disease has a few tell-tale symptoms that patients should be on the lookout for. These include:
- Painful or tender gums.
- Red or swollen gums.
- Gums that bleed when flossing, eating crunchy food, or brushing.
- Gums that are starting to recede, making the teeth look bigger.
- Loose teeth.
- Changes in the way the mouth fits together when biting.
- Changes in the way dentures fit.
- Chronic bad breath.
- Pus coming from between the teeth and the gums.
For patients that are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it’s crucial to schedule an appointment at our Elizabethtown office right away to have our doctors check it out. The earlier treatment for gum disease is started, the better the outcome.
Treatment for Gum Disease
Treating gum disease involves stopping the spread of infection by cleaning out the pockets surrounding the teeth. Treatment can be performed at our Elizabethtown office and usually includes one or more of the following:
- Plaque and tartar removal, which happens at a standard dental cleaning.
- Scaling and root planing, which goes beyond a standard cleaning for a deeper clean. Our doctors will reach under the gums to scrape away plaque and smooth out any rough spots on the tooth root.
- Flap surgery/pocket reduction surgery, which is reserved for more serious cases of gum disease. Our doctors lift the gums up, clean out the area underneath, and then reposition the gums to eliminate pockets between the teeth.
- Bone or tissue grafts, which involves taking bone or tissue from another part of the mouth and using it to replace receding gum tissue for improved appearance and better coverage of the tooth root, rebuilding areas that have been damaged by decay.
Gum Disease Prevention
While many of the above treatments for gum disease are effective, it’s probably a better idea to avoid them altogether by taking good care of the mouth. There are plenty of ways Elizabethtown patients can avoid gum disease, including:
- Brushing the teeth after meals to remove plaque and food trapped between the teeth and gums.
- Flossing once a day to get rid of the debris missed by brushing.
- Using mouthwash to clear away even more stubborn particles.
- Stopping smoking, as smoking prevents the gums from healing.
- Knowing the risk factors, as sometimes, even with excellent oral hygiene practices, certain patients are still susceptible to gum disease. For example, patients with HIV, cancer, or diabetes all have an increased risk of gum disease.
Get the Best Gum Disease Treatment in Elizabethtown
Do you think you have some of the signs of gum disease? If so, don’t put your oral health on the line. Schedule an appointment with our doctors now to get checked out. Remember, the earlier you begin treatment, the better the outcome will be.
To schedule your initial consultation at our Elizabethtown office, give us a call today at (270) 769-3306.