Gum Disease: What is It & How is It Treated?

tmj-jaw-pain-squareTaking care of your teeth and gums is extremely important for a healthy mouth. For those who do not practice daily brushing and flossing and do not get professional 6-month cleanings, problems can develop.

One such problem is gum disease, the main topic of this article. Join us as we explore gum disease–what it is, how it’s treated, and more.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease, sometimes referred to as gingivitis, is an infection of the gums surrounding the teeth. It is a relatively painless condition that can cause tooth loss.

Actually, many people don’t even realize they have gum disease (sometimes until it’s too late) so it’s best to be aware of the symptoms (we’ll list the symptoms later on in this article).

Gingivitis is the first and earliest phase of gum disease. It is a treatable, curable condition with early diagnosis and effective treatment. The gums become very irritated due to stubborn plaque that doesn’t get removed. That’s why it’s very important to remove plaque with consistent brushing, flossing, and 6-month professional cleaning appointments.

If it goes without treatment, gum disease can advance to a more serious condition called periodontal disease (or periodontitis). At this stage, some patients experience irreversible damage and more serious symptoms, such as loose teeth that sometimes need to be extracted. Periodontitis cannot be cured, only managed.

Is gum disease the same as periodontal disease?

No, gum disease and periodontal disease are not the same thing. As mentioned, if gum disease goes untreated, it can develop into periodontal disease. As such, periodontal disease a very serious condition that needs treatment right away.

Symptoms of gum disease and periodontal disease

gum-disease-square-300x300We thought it would be best to list the symptoms of gum disease AND periodontal disease since we mentioned both conditions in this article. So here you go…

Symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Red, swollen gums that bleed easily
  • Minor bleeding when brushing or flossing
  • Gums that no longer are a healthy, pink color; instead the gums will appear irritated and a dark red color
  • Gums that become softer to the touch as time goes on

Symptoms of periodontal disease include:

  • Red, tender, swollen, extra sensitive gums
  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Pus between the teeth and gums (called pyorrhea)
  • Constant bad taste in the mouth or constant bad breath (called halitosis)
  • Loose teeth
  • Mouth sores
  • Spaces that develop in between the teeth
  • Gums that are pulled away from the teeth (sometimes referred to as a receding gum line)
  • Changes in the way your teeth fit together when biting down
  • Changes in the way dentures or partial dentures fit

As previously mentioned, some people are unaware that they have gum disease. That’s why it is important to learn about these symptoms so you can evaluate your teeth and gums on a regular basis.

If you notice that something isn’t quite right with your teeth or gums, call your dentist. It is best to get your mouth checked out so that, if you do have gum disease, you can get treatment right away.

How is gum disease treated?

There are many ways to treat gum disease. Once you get evaluated by the dentist, he or she will recommend the best gum disease treatment for your case.

Types of gum disease treatments include:

Scaling and root planing (also called deep therapeutic scaling)– This is a treatment completed in the office. It is essentially a deep cleaning of your teeth and gums to remove bacteria. It is a non-surgical treatment that is very effective at treating gum disease.

Antibiotics– Antibiotic treatment is a popular method (as is scaling and root planing) to get rid of gum disease. The antibiotics kill the infection-causing bacteria and they are often used in combination with other gum disease treatments or as a preventative measure.

Periodontal surgery or laser gum surgery– Surgery may be required in severe cases of gum disease. Getting timely gum disease treatment as soon as you notice symptoms is the best way to avoid gum surgeries.

Dental implants– In cases where a patient loses a tooth because of gum disease, a dental implant may be necessary. A dental implant essentially acts as the new tooth, solving the missing tooth problem that many patients experience due to severe gum disease.

Based on the severity of gum disease along with other factors, your dentist will determine which type of treatment is best for you. Rest assured, each of these treatments will promote healthy teeth and gums!

Is gum disease a serious condition that needs treatment?

Yes, gum disease is a serious condition that needs prompt treatment. As a matter of fact, untreated gum disease and periodontal disease are linked to:

  • Heart problems
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Respiratory problems
  • Birth complications (premature birth)
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Digestive disorders

So if you think that gum disease will just go away on its own, think again. Get treatment right away.

Choose gum disease treatment in Albany, GA

doctors-square If you are suffering from gum disease symptoms and want the best treatment in town, call Longleaf Dental. Our dentists are trained and experienced to give patients excellent, effective treatment for gum disease and periodontal disease.

The first step to receiving the best treatment is to call our office. Our contact information can be found on the following page:

Just let us know you need to be evaluated for gum disease and that you may need treatment. We will schedule an appointment for you at your convenience.

We look forward to meeting you.