Periodontal disease, commonly called gum disease, is a condition that affects the gum tissue in the mouth. It affects a large portion of the population despite being preventable. Understanding the causes and recognizing the signs can help you prevent damage to your oral health. If you suffer from this condition, the dental team at Storts Family Dentistry offers minimally invasive and highly effective periodontal disease treatment in Madill and Ardmore, OK.
What Causes Periodontal Disease?
The primary cause of gum disease is plaque buildup on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that contains harmful bacteria that produce toxins. If you do not regularly remove plaque from your teeth, it will harden into tartar. Tartar provides even more breeding ground for bacteria.
Plaque and tartar lead to gum inflammation and eventually, bacterial infections that extend below the gum line. There are various stages of gum disease, the first being gingivitis. While it is easy for your dentist to spot, you may not know you have gingivitis because the symptoms are usually mild.
However, without treating gingivitis, periodontitis will develop. It typically has symptoms harder to ignore such as receding gums and loose teeth. Without treatment, it will turn into advanced periodontitis.
Common Signs of Gum Disease
It is important to recognize the signs of gum disease. You can seek early intervention and effective treatment from your dentist. The symptoms can vary depending on the stage of the disease, but common signs include:
- Gingival Inflammation: Swollen and red gums are often the first visible signs of gum disease. Healthy gums should appear pink and firm.
- Bleeding Gums: Gums that bleed during brushing or flossing are signs of gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease. Healthy gums should not bleed with regular oral care.
- Persistent Bad Breath: Bacteria in the mouth release toxins that can cause chronic bad breath, known as halitosis.
- Receding Gums: As gum disease progresses, the gums may start to pull away from the teeth, creating pockets where bacteria can accumulate.
- Loose or Shifting Teeth: Advanced stages of gum disease can result in the loss of bone support, leading to loose or shifting teeth.
Can Gum Disease Be Cured?
Not all cases of periodontal disease curable. Gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease, is reversible. It may require professional treatment from your dentist and proper oral hygiene practices such as regular brushing and flossing. However, advanced stages of periodontal disease may require ongoing management and maintenance to control the condition.
Gum Disease Treatment in Southern Oklahoma
Professional Dental Cleanings: If you have gingivitis, you may only need a regular dental cleaning. Your dental hygienist will perform this professional cleaning during your bi-annual checkup. It is a crucial treatment that removes plaque and tartar buildup.
Scaling and Root Planing: For more advanced cases of gum disease, you may need a deep cleaning treatment called scaling and root planing. This intensive dental cleaning removes tartar below the gum line and smooths the tooth roots. First, your dentist removes plaque and tartar buildup from the deep gum pockets. They will smooth out the tooth roots to discourage further bacterial growth and encourage the gums to reattach to the teeth. This treatment helps prevent gum recession and tooth loss.
Laser Dentistry: Advanced gum disease may leave you with damaged and diseased gum tissue. Your dentist will need to remove this tissue to prevent the progression of the disease. Laser dentistry allows your dentist to remove the tissue without surgery. They will not need to cut your gums or use sutures. This means less bleeding, less downtime, and faster healing for you. To learn more about the benefits of using dental lasers to treat gum disease, see Laser Dentistry.
The Risks of Untreated Periodontal Disease
Ignoring or neglecting treatment for gum disease can have serious consequences, affecting oral and overall health. Some of the risks associated with untreated gum disease include:
- Tooth Loss: Progressive gum disease can damage the supporting structures, resulting in tooth loss.
- Systemic Health Issues: There is a growing body of evidence linking gum disease to systemic health issues, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and respiratory problems.
- Chronic Inflammation: Untreated gum disease can contribute to chronic inflammation, which is associated with various health conditions and can impact overall well-being.
- Compromised Oral Function: Gum disease can affect the bite and lead to difficulty in chewing, speaking, and overall oral function.
Treatment for Gum Disease in Southern Oklahoma
Periodontal disease is a preventable condition. However, if you are diagnosed with it, Storts Family Dentistry offers comprehensive periodontal disease treatment in Madill and Ardmore, OK. We will provide you with timely treatment to help you manage your condition at any stage. You can reach us at (580) 260-3410 or by requesting an appointment online.