Untreated, advanced gum (periodontal) disease has the power to negatively affect your health. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss, too. The rates of gum disease are staggering, too, with research indicating that four out of five adults will develop some form of gum disease in their lifetimes. Detecting and treating gum disease quickly is imperative for stopping its progression. If gum disease is caught early enough and patients commit to practicing meticulous oral hygiene, the condition can be reversed.
Detecting Periodontal Disease
Every dental checkup includes a screening for signs of gum disease. Dental hygienists also closely examine the gums during cleanings. If patients forego routine checkups and cleanings for a prolonged period of time, it is possible to develop advanced gum disease. While bleeding gums are a common symptom of gum disease, other symptoms like discolorations in gum tissue and gingival tenderness may indicate periodontal disease as well. If you have symptoms of gum disease or if it has been a while since your last checkup and cleaning, we strongly encourage you to schedule an appointment with Dr. Holloman so that we can evaluate your gum health.
Gum Disease Treatment Options
If you have been diagnosed with gum disease, you might be wondering what your treatment options are. Dental professionals will recommend increased vigilance with oral hygiene at any stage of gum disease. Patients with advanced periodontal disease may need special prophylaxis called “scaling and root planing” that removes tartar accumulation beneath the gum line and smooths the surfaces of the roots of teeth to diminish the likelihood of developing future tartar buildup. This treatment cleans the infected parts of the gums to encourage the development of new tissue growth. Scaling and root planing is administered incrementally. Treatment areas are divided into quadrants and patients, depending on the severity of their gum disease, will need to plan for multiple visits to our practice.
Sometimes antibiotics and oral rinses are prescribed to help control harmful bacteria. In severe cases of periodontal disease, patients might need surgical or specialty treatment.
If you have signs of gum disease, call our office today to reserve a checkup with Dr. Holloman.
Periodontal Therapy FAQs
Periodontal disease is a condition marked by inflamed and infected gingiva (gums). This condition affects up to 80% of the adult population at least once in their lifetimes. Gum (periodontal) disease is the leading cause of tooth loss and in its advanced stages, can wreak havoc on the entire oral health system including bone. A few factors contribute to periodontal disease but the most common one is the accumulation of tartar deposits under the gums and in between teeth. As tartar accumulates, the gums pull away (recede) as a response. Tartar also irritates the gums. Other contributors to periodontal disease include hormonal fluctuations, chronic health conditions, and genetic predispositions.
Preventing periodontal disease begins with performing daily oral hygiene including twice-daily brushing and flossing. In addition to conducting thorough oral hygiene, patients should schedule biannual checkups and cleanings with our dentist. Other than practicing oral hygiene and receiving routine oral healthcare, abstaining from smoking is recommended as this habit irritates the gingiva.
When it comes to oral hygiene, a meticulous routine is a must. Teeth should be brushed twice a day for about two minutes each time. Brushing helps remove daily deposits of plaque along the teeth, gums, tongue, and the roof of the mouth. While brushing certainly cleans a lot of surface area, a toothbrush cannot reach everything. Because of this, flossing is necessary to remove plaque and debris that accumulate between teeth and also along the gum line.
Various factors can contribute to gum disease. The most common is inadequate oral hygiene, which causes inflamed and irritated gums - which is the beginning of gum disease. As tartar accumulates along the gums, the gingiva will recede (pull away from) teeth as an inflammatory response. Recession of the gum line creates space for new tartar deposits to collect. It also leaves the roots of teeth exposed to oral debris.
Hormonal fluctuations such as those seen with puberty, pregnancy, and menopause contribute to an increased risk for developing gum disease because it causes an increase in blood flow to soft tissue, including the gums. Increased blood flow makes the gums susceptible to inflammation. Some lifestyle habits like smoking or excessive drinking contribute to periodontal disease by causing persistent irritation to oral tissue. There is scientific evidence that suggests some genetic predispositions may increase one’s risk as well.
Gingivitis is early stage gum disease. This condition is curable and reversible when patients receive professional care and commit to following a thorough oral hygiene routine. When gingivitis is left untreated, it can advance into a more progressive and chronic form of periodontal disease.