Gum disease also known as periodontal disease, is the number one reason for tooth loss among Australians, with three in every ten adults suffering from moderate to severe periodontitis. Gum disease is a preventable condition that can be managed with a good at-home oral routine and regular professional hygiene cleanings.
What Causes Gum Disease?
A build-up of plaque, a sticky biofilm containing bacteria, along the gum line causes gum disease. Plaque is formed by the bacteria that feed on sugars in the food and drink you consume. If you don’t brush and floss your teeth properly or visit your dentist often enough, your immune system responds with red and swollen gums that may bleed, indicating you have periodontal disease.
Stages of Periodontal Disease
Gum disease is very common and can be reversed when caught early. Gingivitis is the earliest stage of periodontal disease. At this stage, only the surface layers of the gum are affected. Signs of gingivitis include bleeding when brushing and tender or swollen gums.
Advanced gum disease is called periodontitis, the inflammation of the periodontium, which are the structures that support and keep your teeth in place. This stage of periodontal disease occurs when gingivitis remains untreated.
When the gum is damaged, spaces can form between the gum and the tooth root. These pockets fill with bacteria causing even more damage to the periodontium resulting in tooth loss. Signs of periodontitis include bleeding and swollen gums, bad breath, receding gums, loose or shifted teeth, bad taste in your mouth and tenderness when biting.
How to Treat Gum Disease in the Early Stages?
To prevent periodontal disease, you should book a hygiene cleaning every six months or more often if your dentist recommends. Scaling removes plaque and tartar from the surface of your teeth and gum line. This is followed by polishing to smooth the tooth’s surface, so it is more difficult for bacteria to adhere, making it easier for you to maintain a healthy smile at home.
Your dentist uses scaling and root planing to treat the early stages of periodontitis. Dental scaling is followed by root planing, where your dentist smooths the tooth root’s surface to remove bacteria and biofilm.
If you have signs of infection, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics and an antibacterial mouthwash.
How to Treat Gum Disease in the Advanced Stages
Advanced periodontal disease requires surgical intervention to restore your dental health. If your gum is eroded and the tooth roots are exposed, your dentist may recommend a gum graft. This involves taking tissue from your palate or other mouth tissue and attaching it to your gum to cover the exposed teeth, preventing decay and gum and bone recession.
Pocket reduction surgery involves folding over and cleaning the gum tissue before reattaching it so bacteria can no longer gather in the pockets, restoring your oral health.
Contact Dapto Dentists to Find Out How to Treat Gum Disease
If your gums feel swollen and tender, or you have receding gums or loose teeth, contact our practice to book a dental exam and learn how to treat gum disease. Getting treated early can save your teeth that are affected by gum disease.
Call us on (02) 4210 9058 today.