Periodontal (gum) disease affects more than half of American adults in some form, and what’s worse is many of them don’t realize they have it. That’s because this condition progresses slowly at first, with very few symptoms and hardly any pain in the beginning. So how can you protect yourself against gum disease? Your dentist explains.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is best described as an infection of your gums and jawbone, which are the primary support system for your teeth. The infection is caused by excess plaque that causes your gums and teeth to separate, which allows bacteria below your gum line.
While this does happen slowly in the beginning, it’s essential to get on top of this condition because if it’s left untreated, it will eventually lead to tooth loss.
Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease
Gum disease can be hard to detect on your own at first, and this is why visits with your dentist every six months for examinations are so important. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, and if you have it you may notice:
- Your gums bleed easily during brushing or flossing
- You have chronic bad breath that you can’t get rid of
- Your gums look swollen, red, or irritated
Periodontitis is the advanced stage of gum disease. If you’re suffering from periodontitis, the damage has occurred, and you may notice:
- Your teeth are beginning to feel mobile
- Your gums are receding
- You feel tenderness or pain when you eat or chew
Treating Gum Disease
If you see symptoms of gingivitis, it is a good idea to contact your dentist right away for a cleaning and examination. Gingivitis can often be successfully managed when you’re proactive about treating it. A thorough professional cleaning with your hygienist and improvements to your home care routine can sometimes be enough to reverse your condition.
Periodontitis requires a much deeper cleaning to reach below the gum line and remove plaque and tartar buildup. This is known as scaling and root planing. Your dentist may also recommend antibiotic therapy and even surgery for severe cases of periodontitis.
If you have questions about gum disease treatment, we encourage you to contact your dentist for more information.
About the Author
Smile Fitness Dental Centers combines the skills of three talented dentists to provide a wide range of services for patients of all ages in Phoenix, AZ. The diversity of our team also allows us to offer early morning, late evening, and Saturday appointments designed to accommodate our patient’s hectic schedules with ease.
If you would like to contact Smile Fitness Dental Centers, we can be reached by calling 623-849-0477 or through our website.