Do your gums bleed when you brush? Does bad breath linger long after you have rinsed with mouthwash? Bad breath and bleeding gums are just a couple of the symptoms of periodontal disease (also known as gum disease).
At Southside Dental Center, we take the prevention and treatment of gum disease very seriously. Research conducted recently by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that almost half of adult Americans over the age of 30 have some form of periodontal disease. If it is not caught and treated in its early stages, gum disease can potentially lead to tooth loss and even impact your overall health.
The Two Stages of Gum Disease
Periodontal infection, commonly referred to as gum disease, attacks your gum tissue. This infection is caused by the build-up of plaque and bacteria on your teeth. There are two stages of gum disease:
Stage One – Gingivitis
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. As periodontal infection works its way into the gum tissue, you may notice tender, swollen, or bleeding gums. In some cases, however, the symptoms of gingivitis may be so mild that they are not apparent. Gingivitis is usually reversible if it is detected and treated early.
Stage Two – Periodontitis
At this stage, the infection in your gums has spread to your teeth, bones, and the connective tissue that holds your teeth in place. A space called a periodontal pocket opens up, separating the gum and bone from your teeth. The pockets attract bacteria, become infected, and ultimately lead to loss of bone and tissue. Without treatment, there is even a risk of losing the tooth.
Treating Periodontal Disease
The treatment our hygienist recommends for you depends on the general health of your teeth and the severity of the infection. For mild cases, a thorough cleaning with frequent follow-ups may be all that’s needed to get gum disease under control.
For more advanced cases, we will need to perform a deep cleaning procedure referred to as scaling and root planing. During this procedure, our hygienist completely clears away any bacteria, then smooths the surface of the enamel to remove spots where they can collect in the future.
The infection will be cleaned with an antibacterial rinse that flushes out remaining bacteria, giving you a fresh start. In most cases, our hygienist will schedule a follow-up visit for you several weeks after your cleaning.
Call Today to Protect Your Oral Health
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent gum disease from occurring in the first place. By scheduling regular appointments for cleanings and exams and following a diligent oral hygiene routine, you may never have to worry about periodontal disease!
The professional team at Southside Dental Center looks forward to meeting you and helping you get the important dental care you need for a healthy smile. Please give us a call, and a friendly member of our team will be happy to assist you.