What is Gum Disease?
Also known as periodontitis, gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue. This infection is often the result of poor dental hygiene habits, such as a lack of proper brushing and flossing, which allows plaque to build around the teeth.
Gum disease often begins with red, swollen, or receding gums. If left untreated for long enough, it can eventually lead to painful, bleeding gums, loose teeth, and even tooth loss!
How does gum disease happen?
Gum disease is a result of plaque buildup. But what is plaque? While many are familiar with the word, we’ve found that most patients still can’t tell us why plaque should be avoided.
Put simply, plaque is a sticky film containing bacteria that forms on teeth as a result of poor dental hygiene. Once established, this bacteria begins to wreak havoc on gum tissue and tooth health, often resulting in infection.
The best way to combat plaque is by maintaining thorough, consistent dental hygiene habits, as well as attending regular teeth cleanings.
Do I have gum disease?
Unfortunately, gum disease is all too-common, infecting almost half of adults over the age of 30! Many people don’t even realize they’re suffering from gum disease until the infection has advanced to the point of discomfort. But, if you know what signs to look for, early detection is easy.
Inflammation is usually the earliest sign of gum disease. If you notice that your gums looking a little red and puffy, contact our office ASAP to schedule a consultation.
Other possible indicators of gum disease include:
- Bad breath
- Tender gums
- Painful chewing
- Receding gums
How We Treat Gum Disease
Methods for gum disease treatment vary depending on the nature of the infection and how advanced it is. All treatment is performed in-house at our Sarasota dental clinic. The following are a few of the most common methods we use to treat gum disease.
Non-Advanced Gum Disease Treatment
Antibiotics: Antibiotics are often prescribed in combination with treatment to reduce inflammation. In mild cases, a round of antibiotics is enough to stop infection altogether. This can include topical antibiotics, or oral antibiotics.
Scaling: Scaling is the process of cleaning plaque from around the base of your teeth and beneath the gum line using a special dental instrument.
Root Planing: Commonly called “deep cleaning,” root planing is a form of dental cleaning that involves the removal of plaque deeper down below the gum line.
Advanced Gum Disease Treatment
Pocket Reduction Surgery: This surgical dentistry procedure involves lifting back the gums to remove tartar buildup. The gums are then refitted to the teeth to help prevent tartar from building beneath the gum line in the future.
Soft Tissue Graft: In situations where gum disease has caused significant gum recession, a soft tissue graft will restore gum tissue. Tissue is often taken from the roof of the mouth and stitched to the gum along the front of the tooth.
Guided Tissue Regeneration: In instances of severe gum disease, the bone supporting your teeth can be destroyed. Guided tissue regeneration is often performed in addition to pocket reduction surgery to stimulate bone and tissue growth.
Contact us today
to schedule an initial consultation & exam.
Your consultation will include an examination of everything from your teeth, gums and soft tissues to the shape and condition of your bite. Generally, we want to see how your whole mouth looks and functions. Before we plan your treatment we want to know everything about the health and aesthetic of your smile, and, most importantly, what you want to achieve so we can help you get there.
Frequently Asked Questions
If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss. In severe cases, infection can spread to the bone supporting the teeth, resulting in serious tissue damage. If infection is allowed to spread for long enough, bacteria can even enter the bloodstream– a potentially fatal condition requiring immediate medical attention.
Gum disease is very common! Almost half of adults over the age of 30 have gum disease, while it affects a whopping 70% of adults over the age of 65!
If gum disease is detected early enough, it can be reversed with proper treatment. However, if allowed to develop into periodontal disease, your doctor will be able to treat it and stop the spread of infection, but any recession or tissue damage cannot be reversed.
The most common early sign of gum disease is red, puffy gums. If you’re gums feel tender and look a little swollen and irritated, contact our Sarasota office as soon as possible to schedule your consultation.