Gum disease not only affects over 75% of patients at some point in their lives, but it also remains a leading cause of tooth loss in adults today. Known as the “silent disease”, gum disease often goes unnoticed until the patient comes in for a visit to our Lawson and Richmond, MO dental offices or it has advanced to periodontitis and is affecting the teeth.
During routine preventive dental care, our dentists perform a periodontal screening to look for signs of early gum disease. There are several signs and symptoms to watch for and mention during a visit to one of our local dentist offices:
- Bleeding gums
- Red, swollen gums
- Receding gums
- Loose or shifting teeth
- Consistent bad breath
What Causes Gum Disease?
Most cases of gum disease are caused by plaque build-up on the teeth from a poor oral hygiene routine. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that can only be removed with proper oral care that includes brushing and flossing every day and regular visits to the dentist. If not removed, the plaque will eventually cause an infection in the gum tissue. Teeth grinding, TMJ disorders, tobacco use, pregnancy, menopause, and poor nutrition can also lead to gum disease.
Stages of Gum Disease
There are two stages of gum disease and spotting it in the earlier stage can prevent the possibility of permanent damage to both gum tissues and teeth.
Gingivitis: The early-stage gum disease is known as gingivitis and often results in an increased sensitivity along with some bleeding during tooth brushing or dental cleaning. Gingivitis is diagnosed when gums are beginning to show the signs of infection and pockets are developing between the gums and tooth roots. We recommend patients that who suffer from recurring gingivitis get professional dental cleanings more frequently.
Periodontitis: Advanced gum disease is known as periodontitis and is characterized by swollen, infected gum tissue that has separated from the tooth roots. This enables bacteria to create a deeper infection that also attacks the tooth structure and results in loose teeth and permanent damage to the gum tissue.
Treatment for Gum Disease
Kanning Dental will tailor periodontal therapy to your dental health with the goal of restoring the gums and preventing future infection. In most cases when gingivitis is present, a thorough cleaning process called scaling and root planing can remove plaque from the gum line and tooth roots. Your dentist may recommend the addition of an anti-bacterial rinse at home to keep the gums healthy between visits.
Scaling & Root Planing: Scaling and root planing is an intensive dental cleaning that removes bacteria from the root pockets in the gums. Using special tools, we will scrape away plaque and tartar build-up and remove disease-causing bacteria. This deep cleaning method helps prevent the development of gum recession and tooth loss.
If periodontitis is diagnosed, our team may refer you to a local specialist to address any damage to the gums and avoid the possibility of tooth loss.
Gum Disease FAQs
Can my gum disease lead to tooth loss?
Gum disease is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults. Taking proper care of your teeth is the only way to avoid this fate. Proper oral hygiene habits and seeking treatment as soon as possible if you notice signs of gum disease will prevent tooth loss from gum disease. If left untreated, the disease will progress into a serious oral health problem and tooth loss is eminent as well as gum recession and bone loss in the jaw.
Does scaling and root planing hurt?
No, the procedure is not painful however some people experience mild discomfort. Everyone experiences pain on different levels, however. Your dentist will need to remove the built-up plaque and tartar and if this has reached your gums, they may be extra sensitive. After the procedure, most people report that their gums/teeth feel sore and tender but this should subside in a few days. The benefits of scaling and root planing are worth the mild discomfort. It will help stop gum disease from progressing and causing serious damage to your teeth, gums and the underlying bone.
Is gum disease curable?
If caught in the early stages (gingivitis), your dentist can take the necessary steps to help cure you of gum disease. Spotting this disease is the early stage is why regular visits to your dentist are so important. Your dentist can easily diagnose gingivitis during your examination and treat you immediately. If your gum disease progresses and reaches periodontitis, then it cannot be cured, only treated.