If you have gums that bleed easily when you brush or look inflamed and discolored, you may have the earliest stage of periodontal disease. Immediate treatment from a dentist like Dr. Josh Haycock is essential for you to reverse your condition and restore your oral health. If left untreated, periodontal disease can cause permanent damage to your smile.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease, also called “gum disease,” is a chronic infection of the gums. This condition happens when you don’t brush and floss properly, and bacteria begin to build up in your mouth.
Over time, these bacteria will form into plaque and tartar, which will begin building up between your teeth and gums. Eventually, these bacteria will attack and infect your gums. Initially, this just causes minor issues like swelling of the gums, gum tenderness, and inflammation/discoloration.
Eventually, though, this will cause irreversible damage to your gums and the roots and other support structures of your teeth. This is why it’s essential to get help ASAP if you think you have periodontal disease.
The Signs Of Periodontal Disease
The first signs of gingivitis, the initial stage of periodontal disease, are gum swelling and inflammation, tenderness of the gums, bad breath, and bleeding when brushing or flossing. Halitosis (bad breath) also may occur.
If your gum disease is more serious (periodontitis), you may also notice issues like gum recession, which causes your teeth to look longer, and a lot of sensitivity in your teeth and gums. Your gums may bleed very heavily when you brush or floss.
The last stage of gum disease, called “advanced periodontitis” typically causes symptoms like pain when chewing, a change in how your teeth fit together, loosening or loss of multiple teeth, pus forming between the gums and teeth, and a foul taste in the mouth.
Deep Cleaning For Periodontal Disease
Deep cleaning (scaling & root planing) is the initial treatment used for most patients with gum disease.
In this procedure, Dr. Haycock will use special dental tools to clean deeply between your gums and teeth and remove bacteria-filled plaque and tartar. The roots will also be smoothed out to help prevent periodontal “pockets” of bacteria from forming.
Along with antibiotics, this is often enough to resolve minor-to-moderate cases of periodontal disease. Contact Auburn Hills Family Dentistry now to get the help you need.
Ongoing Care & Periodontal Maintenance
Gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease, can be reversed with deep cleaning and proper at-home oral care. But if your gum disease progresses to the second or third stage, it can never be completely eliminated.
However, it can be controlled. Regular ongoing care and periodontal maintenance appointments every 3-4 months are usually required at Auburn Hills Family Dentistry. These treatments are similar to a deep cleaning, and allow Dr. Haycock to clean your teeth and gums, and ensure that your periodontal disease is being managed properly.
Understanding The Causes Of Periodontal Disease
The primary cause of periodontal disease is inadequate at-home oral hygiene. Almost all cases of gum disease can be prevented by simply brushing twice a day with proper technique and flossing once per day. If you maintain a good oral hygiene routine and see a dentist for routine teeth cleanings, you are unlikely to ever develop gum disease.
However, there are some other factors that can contribute to a higher risk of gum disease. Uncontrolled diabetes, for example, can result in high blood sugar levels, which make both gum disease and tooth decay more likely.
Lifestyle decisions can also contribute to the risk of developing periodontal disease. For example, eating a lot of sugary snacks or drinking sugary beverages causes more bacteria to grow in your mouth. Eating a healthy diet and avoiding sugar can reduce your risk of gum disease.
Smoking is also a major contributing factor to gum disease. This is because smoking weakens the body’s ability to fight infections, and nicotine impairs proper blood flow to the gums. Compared to nonsmokers, smokers have twice the risk of developing gum disease. This is true of all other types of tobacco use, too, including chewing tobacco and other forms of oral tobacco.
Advanced age also contributes to a higher risk of gum disease. It’s estimated that about 47% of adults over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease. In contrast, about 70% of people above the age of 65 have gum disease.
Gingivitis Vs. Periodontal Disease – What’s The Difference?
You may be confused about the difference between gingivitis and periodontal/gum disease. Are they different conditions? Are they distinct from one another?
The answer is both yes and no. Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease, so it can be considered to be the same basic oral health issue. However, there is an important distinction that separates it from a diagnosis of periodontal disease. Gingivitis is reversible.
In other words, gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease that is negatively affecting your oral health, but has not yet caused permanent damage to your mouth. With proper periodontal care and at-home oral hygiene, it can be completely eliminated. Your mouth will be healthy and completely free of gum disease.
However, this is not true in the later stages of gum disease. Once the condition progresses past gingivitis, this means that permanent damage has been done to your teeth and gums, and it will not be possible to completely eliminate the condition. Periodontal disease can be controlled and halted with routine periodontal maintenance appointments and good oral hygiene, but you will need to get specialized treatment for the rest of your life.
This is why it’s so important to get professional periodontal care from Dr. Haycock as soon as you notice the initial signs of gingivitis. If you wait too long, your condition may spread and progress into an irreversible case of gum disease. Contact Auburn Hills Family Dentistry immediately if you think you need treatment for gum disease.