Gum disease is an extremely common condition, affecting an estimated 75 percent of adults in the United States alone. When in its early stages, many patients are not aware that they have it, as it does not cause easily apparent symptoms. This is one of the many reasons that routine appointments with our providers are so important; this gives us the opportunity to diagnose the condition and offer treatment before the disease is able to worsen. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to serious oral health problems, including tooth loss.
At Spring Forest Dental, we believe that an informed patient is a healthier patient. To learn more about gum disease, we invite you to read below. If you suspect you have gum disease, contact our Greenville, NC, office to seek diagnosis and treatment of the condition.
Gum disease is caused by plaque – a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth and accumulates along the gum line. If not removed within 24 hours, plaque can harden into tartar, which irritates your gums and causes inflammation. While plaque can be easily cleaned using a toothbrush and floss, tartar can only be removed by a dental care professional during your routine cleanings. If this buildup is not addressed, the irritation caused by the invasive bacteria can damage your gums, bone, and other tissues supporting your teeth.
Gum disease progresses as the accumulation of plaque and tartar along your gum line lingers over a period of time. As your gums become increasingly irritated and inflamed, they begin pulling away from the tooth structure – forming pockets between your teeth and gums. Plaque, tartar, and food debris gain easy access to these pockets where, over time, they begin deteriorating the base of your teeth and weakening the supporting structures. Once gum disease has reached this stage, it is no longer curable but can be managed by professional treatment.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
- Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. Symptoms include red, swollen gums that may bleed when brushed or flossed. This stage is reversible with quality oral hygiene.
- Periodontitis is the next stage of gum disease. Symptoms include red, swollen gums that may bleed when brushed or flossed and receding gum tissue. You may also notice loose teeth, temperature sensitivity, or gum tenderness. This stage is not reversible but can be managed by professional gum disease treatment.
- Advanced periodontitis is the most severe stage of gum disease. Symptoms include red, swollen gums that may bleed when brushed or flossed, receding gum tissue, loose teeth, and pus around the gum line. This stage can lead to tooth loss if not treated. Advanced periodontitis can be managed through professional gum disease treatment and regular maintenance.
Scaling & Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is a common set of procedures that we use to treat gum disease.
- Scaling involves the removal of plaque and tartar from the teeth, both above and below the gum line.
- Root planing serves the purpose of reshaping the damaged roots of the teeth to create a smooth surface – preventing plaque and tartar from targeting these same surfaces in the future.
Both procedures are performed together in order to effectively halt the progression of gum disease and allow the gum tissue the opportunity to reattach to the clean, polished root structure.
Your Trusted Providers When Fighting Gum Disease
If you’re concerned about gum disease, take steps today to ensure your smile is protected by scheduling an appointment at our office. We have a team of dental care specialists who are dedicated to providing you with the highest level of care and trained to diagnose and combat gum disease as quickly as possible. If you have gum disease, we will help you to develop a plan that takes into account your particular stage of the condition and restores your health as quickly as possible.
With our help, you can overcome gum disease and maintain a healthy smile. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!