What Is Gum Disease?
Gum (periodontal) disease is an inflammation in the gums and is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults today. There are several stages of periodontal disease that range from mild to severe. The very first phase is gingivitis, which is caused by a buildup of plaque and bacteria around the gumline. Without treatment, gingivitis may develop into the second stage of gum disease called periodontitis. During this phase, the disease begins to break down the fibers and bone that hold your teeth in place. Advanced periodontitis is the final stage of periodontal disease, which is characterized by further bone loss, loose teeth, and even tooth loss. To treat periodontal disease and prevent the condition from advancing, our team works closely with each individual patient. We routinely screen for gum disease to identify the risks and may treat periodontitis with nonsurgical scaling and root planing (SRP) treatments. If you have signs of periodontal infection, get in touch with Gibson Dental Care in Lancaster, PA today to schedule an examination and consultation with our expert clinical team.
Symptoms and Health Effects
Though millions of Americans have gum disease, many are unaware of its presence. For this reason, we recommend that all patients maintain routine dental exams so that our team can regularly screen for the presence of gum disease in the mouth. Common signs and symptoms of periodontal disease include:
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Bleeding when flossing or brushing
- Gum recession
- Tooth sensitivity
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Bone loss
- Pus in the gums
- Deep periodontal pockets
Beyond the destructive effects gum disease is known to have in the mouth, the condition has also been linked to various general health problems. Some of these systemic issues involve Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, pregnancy concerns, respiratory illness, memory loss, and certain types of cancer, along with others.
Treatment for Gum DIsease
In response to the presence of harmful oral bacteria, gum disease initially causes the gums to become inflamed and pull away from the teeth. If the disease process is not arrested, the bone supporting the teeth in the jaw may begin to deteriorate. This bone loss may progress to an advanced stage, leaving too little structural support and ultimately tooth loss. During your routine dental exam visits, our team will screen for gum disease by measuring the spaces between your teeth and gums and evaluating your x-rays to assess the level of bone supporting your teeth. If signs of the condition are detected, treatment for gum disease will be based on the seriousness of the infection. Gingivitis is typically resolved with a thorough professional dental cleaning and improved home care efforts. For cases of periodontitis, scaling and root planing therapy is typically recommended to deep clean the pockets between the teeth and gums. We may partner with a local periodontal specialist to help improve the oral health of patients with advanced periodontitis or those requiring a surgical approach to care.
Maintaining Periodontal Health
Recovery time following treatment for gum disease will vary based on the condition and treatment provided. Treatment may take place over the course of a few office visits, depending on individual needs. Once your gum disease has been treated, our dental experts may recommend a periodontal maintenance program to help manage your condition and prevent its progression. Along with a close evaluation of the gums, periodontal maintenance visits include very thorough cleanings by our hygienists and take the place of biannual prophylaxis procedures. We will also help you personalize your oral hygiene regimen at home to help keep harmful oral bacteria from causing further damage.
Preserve Your Gum Health
Gum disease may worsen without timely and appropriate treatment. Protect your oral and general health by having routine gum disease screenings and getting expert help when any symptoms occur. At Gibson Dental Care, we work closely with each patient to help address any signs of gum disease and preserve the health of his or her smile. To learn more or to schedule a consultation with our highly trained team, get in touch with our office in Lancaster, PA today.