TREATMENT OF GUM DISEASE
Gum disease is one of the most common dental problems. It affects 3 out of 4 people over the age of 35 and is the most common cause of tooth loss. Gum disease often develops slowly, without causing any pain in the very beginning. Sometimes you may not notice any sign of gum disease until it is serious and bone loss has begun to occur. However, the good news is that gum disease can be prevented and treated, and even reversed in its early stages.
Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection in the gums caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar both above the gum line and below the gum line. The presence of the plaque and tartar around the tooth causes the gum around the tooth to become inflamed and swollen. The inflammation of the gums can be slight, moderate, or severe and can often lead to the damage of the periodontal fibers that hold the gum tightly against the teeth.
The damage of the periodontal fibers causes periodontal pockets to develop. As the periodontal pockets develop, the risk of permanent bone loss around the tooth increases, eventually leading to tooth loss, if left untreated.
Other factors can also cause periodontal disease. These include local irritants such as smoking, chewing tobacco, or habitually clenching the teeth. Nutrition, certain medications, and high levels of stress can also be contributing factors. At home, some of the warning signs of periodontal disease are:
- Red swollen or tender gums.
- Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth.
- Pus between the teeth and gums.
- Loose permanent teeth.
- Bad breath.
The only way to confirm a diagnosis of periodontal disease is to have your mouth examined by a dental hygienist or dentist. During an examination, your gums are evaluated for bleeding, swelling, and firmness. Your teeth are also checked for movement and sensitivity and periodontal probing is done. Periodontal probing involves measuring and recording the depth of the pockets around each tooth. Probing is the most accurate technique used to determine how serious the gum disease is and if there has been any bone loss. After assessing the gums and teeth, the information gathered is then used to plan individualized gum disease treatment to help restore the gums and teeth back to optimum health.