Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an inflammatory condition that affects the gums and the surrounding structures that support the teeth. It is caused by bacteria in dental plaque, a sticky film that forms on the teeth. Several factors can increase the risk of developing gum disease, including poor oral hygiene, smoking, hormonal changes (such as during pregnancy), certain medications, genetics, diabetes, and certain systemic diseases.
Preventing gum disease involves maintaining good oral hygiene practices, including regular brushing and flossing, using antibacterial mouthwashes, eating a balanced diet, avoiding tobacco use, and scheduling regular dental checkups and cleanings at Valenta Dental. Early detection and treatment of gum disease are vital to preventing its progression and preserving oral health.
The Stages of Gum Disease
Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease and is characterized by inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis is generally reversible with proper oral hygiene and professional dental care.
If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, a more severe and advanced stage of gum disease. Periodontitis involves the inflammation and infection of the structures that support the teeth, including the gums, periodontal ligaments, and jawbone. The bacteria in plaque produce toxins that cause the body's immune system to respond, leading to the breakdown of the gum tissue and supporting structures.
The Symptoms of Gum Disease
- Red or swollen gums that bleed when you brush your teeth
- Bad breath that won’t go away with mouthwash or brushing and flossing
- Chronic tooth sensitivity that leads to pain when eating and drinking hot and cold foods and drinks
- Teeth that have pulled away from the gum line
- Receding gum tissue that affects your appearance and causes your teeth to appear to be longer than before
- Loose teeth that can be painful or fall out completely
Treatments for Gum Disease
Scaling and Root Planing
Our dentist or dental hygienist will thoroughly clean the teeth and gums, removing plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line. Scaling helps eliminate bacteria and toxins contributing to the infection. Root planing involves smoothing the tooth roots to remove rough spots, making it more difficult for bacteria to accumulate and promoting the reattachment of the gums to the teeth.
The gums are lifted, and the underlying infected tissue is cleaned. The gums are then repositioned to fit snugly around the teeth, reducing the pocket depths.
Bone and Tissue Grafts
In cases where gum disease has caused significant bone or tissue loss, grafting procedures may be performed to regenerate and restore the lost structures. This can involve synthetic materials, donated tissue, or tissue harvested from other mouth areas.
Early detection and timely treatment of gum disease are essential for preventing its progression and minimizing the risk of complications. Visit Valenta Dental at 1838 Dunlap Ave, Marinette, WI 54143, or call (715) 735-5626 to maintain healthy gums and oral health.