Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is extremely common, but if left untreated, it can have devastating outcomes. For most people, the disease is easily prevented with good oral hygiene. For others who are prone to this condition, periodontal disease can develop at any time. Seeking care as quickly as possible is the best way to ensure the gum disease does not lead to tooth loss or even cause issues in other areas of the body.
Regular brushing and flossing, knowing the signs and symptoms of gum disease, and regular dental cleanings are the best ways to identify gum disease or prevent it altogether. However, if you do develop it, you can take comfort in knowing there are numerous treatment options available to you. Below, we’ll discuss the symptoms of gum disease and what to do if you are diagnosed.
Signs And Symptoms Of Gum Disease
Mild cases of gum disease or gingivitis may be difficult to spot at first, but as the disease increases in severity, the signs will be hard to miss. If you notice any of the following symptoms of gum disease, you should schedule an appointment with a periodontist right away. We’ll break down the common symptoms by each stage of the disease:
- Gingivitis – This is the most common stage of gum disease, and nearly half of adults will experience some degree of gingivitis throughout their lifetime. If you have red, swollen gums or your gums bleed when brushing or flossing, there is a good chance you have gingivitis. The good news is gingivitis is easily curable with proper oral hygiene.
- Early Periodontal Disease – Once bacteria makes its way beneath your gums, periodontal disease really starts to take hold. These pockets of bacteria can ultimately cause your gums to pull away from your teeth, which allows more bacteria to enter these spaces that are very difficult to clean. You’ll likely experience some mild discomfort, and brushing or flossing-induced bleeding will become more severe.
- Moderate Periodontal Disease – After the bacteria settles within your gums for several weeks, it will begin to eat away at your tissue and bones. This is usually the stage when severe bad breath begins to develop, and you may notice additional signs of infection including oozing and severe swelling. Your pain will also become more regular and intense.
- Severe Periodontal Disease – Severe periodontitis is characterized by a significant loss of bone density as well as tooth loss. At this point, the gums and bones are so weak they’re no longer able to hold your teeth in place. The good news is a good periodontist is able to offer treatment for severe periodontal disease.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
Most people assume periodontal disease is a result of poor oral hygiene, and in many cases this is true. Dental plaque causes bacteria to accumulate around the teeth and gums. However, poor oral health isn’t the only factor. People who smoke or chew tobacco are more likely to develop gum disease. Diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and stress are also risk factors. There is also a genetics consideration as well.
What Treatments Are Available For Periodontal Disease?
When it comes to treating gum disease, periodontists have many tools and strategies at their disposal. During your first visit, your provider will evaluate the severity of your condition and will draft a custom treatment plan for you. Below are some of the most common options:
- A Thorough Dental Cleaning
If you have Gingivitis or a very mild case of gum disease, it may be able to be resolved with a good dental cleaning and regular brushing or flossing. Your periodontist may even prescribe a special mouthwash to use at home. Most gum disease is mild and doesn’t require surgery or advanced treatment.
- Scaling And Root Planning
This is a minimally invasive procedure that involves your periodontist using special tools to eliminate plaque in areas of the mouth that are inaccessible with a toothbrush. Plaque is scaled from the teeth and gums and your root surfaces are then smoothed over to help prevent bacteria build-up in the future. This procedure is usually recommended for mild gum disease only.
- Pocket Reduction Surgery
If the bacteria are deep within the pocket or your gums, a dental hygienist probably won’t be able to reach them. In this case, pocket reduction surgery may be required. Your periodontist makes a minor incision in your gums in order to separate the tissue from the roots of your teeth. This will allow. them to get in there and remove plaque and bacteria before smoothing over your remaining tissue and applying stitches. This procedure does require a lengthy recovery time.
If you’re looking for a less-invasive, easy way to treat moderate to severe gum disease, ask your periodontist about LANAP. This procedure leverages a high-powered laser to target and eliminate bacteria and diseased sections of the gums. The process is quick and relatively painless, plus you won’t have a lengthy recovery.
- Bone/Gum Grafts
If you do have severe periodontal disease and you’ve suffered bone loss or gum loss as a result, not all hope is lost. Your provider may be able to perform a bone or gum graft. This involves lifting bone or gum tissue from another area of the mouth and using it to strengthen the weakened section.
- Tooth Loss Options
If severe periodontal disease has led to tooth loss, there are many options available to you. Dental implants are considered one of the best solutions for tooth loss because they look and feel like real teeth. Bridges and dentures may also be viable solutions. However, in most cases, your bone and gums will need to be strong enough to support replacement teeth.
While these are some of the most common treatments for gum disease, some highly experienced periodontists like Dr. Stuart Beauchamp at Ormond Beach Perio may be able to offer even more innovative treatment options.
Why You Should Seek Care At Ormond Beach Periodontics & Implant Dentistry
If you’re suffering from gum disease in Central Florida, schedule your appointment with Ormond Beach Perio today. Dr. Stuart Beauchamp is among the area’s leading periodontists, and he has extensive experience treating gum disease with success. Our practice not only invests in high-quality dental tech, but patient comfort is also at the forefront of everything we do.