Healthy gums are the first step to a healthy smile. If you desire a beautiful smile, it must start with proper gum health. Routine dental care is vital for the health of your gums and your teeth.
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, has a huge impact on the overall health of a patient. This has been proven time and time again in many scientific journals.
Gum Health Affects Overall Health
In our office, all new patient exams include a periodontal health screening. If there are concerns, we have the ability to manage many levels of a gum infection.
Our dental hygienists are highly trained. They stay up to date with the latest techniques in gum disease treatment. We are committed to improving your oral health and providing the personalized care you need to enjoy long term gum health.
It is just as important to care for your current health as it is to treat an active disease. This is important after recent dental work, pregnancies, and other changes in your medical health. Preventative care can stop concerns before they become problems. Early intervention treatment is far more predictable and conservative than treatment for active disease.
Common signs of gum disease include:
- Red, swollen or sore gums
- Bleeding gums
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
- Mouth sores or pus between gums and teeth
- Bad breath
- Changes to denture fit
Dr. Finlay provides a range of treatment options for gum disease. We will tailor your treatment to your needs. The goal is to restore and repair your gum tissue. We will work with you to address any lifestyle habit or medical concerns that may be affecting the health of your gums. Our staff will teach you how to maintain proper gum health between your dental visits.
Stages of Gum Disease
Gum disease is an infection of the gums, caused by plaque and bacteria, that progreses very quickly. There are four main stages of gum disease. It is important to recognize the signs and symptomss of each stage so that you can begin treatment as soon as possible. The sooner treatment is started the easier it is to treat gum disease, and the less damage it is able to cause. Continue reading to learn more about each stage of gum disease and how each stage is treated.
The first stage of gum diease is known as gingivitis. This is the least severe stage of the disease that has the highest rates of success with treatment. Gingivitis is classified by bleeding and inflammed gums, along with chronic bad breath. The best way to treat gingivitis is by increasing your oral care routine. Brushing and flossing atleast twice daily is crucial to preventing and treating early stages of gum disease.
If gingivitis is left untreated it developes into mild periodontitis. During this stage of the disease patients gums begin to recede and form pockets around the gum line. These pockets house bacteria that causes further infection.Common symptoms of mild periodontitis include gumd redness, sensitivity, and gum recession. Scaling and root planing is commonly used to treat mild periodontitis, which involves a deep cleaning and removal of built up plaque.
As the disease progresses it reaches the third stage, known as moderate periodontitis. At this point the infection has deepened and begins to spread to bone and advanced further into the gums. Patients gums will become sensitivite to hot and cold temperatures and the infection may begin to travel into the bloodstream. Deep cleaning and gum grafting may be used as treatment options for this stage of the disease.
The final and most severe stage of gum disease is advanced periodontitis. This stage of gum disease has potential to cause serious issues if left untreated including tooth loss, bone loss, and oral cancer. Teeth may begin to feel loose and ache. Treatment options include bone grafting, gum grafting, and flap surgery.
Gum Disease Treatment Options in Annapolis
- Antibacterial rinses: Dentists will recommend this rinse for mild gum disease or gingivitis. The use of an antibacterial rinse at home can reduce harmful bacteria and prevent the disease from spreading.
- Scaling and root planing: This is a more intense dental cleaning that removes bacteria from the gums. One of our Annapolis dentists will use special tools to scrape away plaque and tartar build up. Then they will remove bacteria from deep in the gum pockets where it forms. When done in the early stages of gum disease, this will help prevent gum recession and tooth loss.
- Laser dentistry: If gum disease progresses to periodontitis or the gum tissue has become damaged, a dental laser can be used to remove diseased tissue. The use of lasers has the ability to restore oral health and stimulate the healing response. Treating gum disease has become more effective and far less painful with laser dentistry.
- Oral surgery: For patients with complex periodontitis, we may refer you to a local oral surgeon to repair the gums.
Gum Disease Treatment FAQs
Do you have further questions about gum disease and how it is treated? Continue reading to find answers to frequently asked questions in our office.
Are periodontal treatments painful?
No. Most gum treatments involve non invasive procedures that are similar to a deep massage for your gums and soft tissue. We will use local anesthesia for more intense treatments to numb the area and ensure that you are kept comfortable throughout treatment.
Can gum disease cause oral cancer?
Gum disease that is left untreated allows for bacteria to enter your bloodstream. It can progress and lead to other health issues, including oral cancer. Your dentist is able to diagnose your chances of getting oral cancer and create a treatment plan to prevent it.
Can you reverse periodontal disease naturally?
You can slow down the advanced stage of gum disease (periodontitis) but you cannot reverse it. On the other hand, you can reverse the moderate stage of gum disease (gingivitis) naturally. Practice very good oral hygiene by brushing AT LEAST twice a day, using floss daily, and using a fluoride mouthwash. Your dentist can also prescribe a mouth rinse to help remove bacteria.
Dr. Scott Finlay provides additional dental services in Annapolis, Maryland.
Contact us at 410.989.7132 or request an appointment online for more information about the management of gum disease.