Healthy gums are the support network for healthy teeth and a stable smile. When gum health is compromised by periodontal disease, it also places your teeth at risk and can impact your overall health and well-being. Dr. Patel places an emphasis on the maintenance of healthy gums as part of our preventive dental care at Westborough Dental Associates.
What are the stages of periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is often called the “silent disease”. That’s because in the early stage, it often goes unnoticed. It is not until the symptoms of a developing problem are visible, or it is spotted during a dental exam, that periodontal disease is addressed. We screen for the early warning signs of gum disease during all routine dental care visits. We help our patients avoid complex problems associated with the late stages of gum disease.
- Gingivitis: Characterized by bleeding gums, minor redness, swelling of gums around tooth roots, and increased sensitivity. Gingivitis is the beginning of periodontal disease and should be addressed as soon as possible to avoid permanent damage. Gingivitis treatment starts at home. Common tips to minimize gum disease risk include making sure your toothbrush is replaced every 3 months, flossing daily, using mouthwash after brushing, and opting for a soft bristle toothbrush. Rinsing with salt water is also helpful. By following these tips, you might be able to eliminate gingivitis.
- Early Periodontitis: This is the second stage. Early periodontal disease is not reversible, so don’t let it get to this stage. It can lead to bone loss, unavoidable gum swelling around the infected area, noticeable redness, and bad breath. Tooth cavities can develop on the sides of teeth. This is because the bacteria remained unchecked, and has become more aggressive.
- Advanced Periodontitis: Symptoms include all of the above, AND shifting of teeth, changes in your bite pattern, gum abscess releasing pus, deep periodontal pockets, tooth loss, and severe halitosis. This stage may need periodontal surgery to fully fix.
Periodontal Therapy What to Expect
Dr. Patel will evaluate the condition of your oral health to determine the stage of existing gum disease and your treatment needs. We will always recommend minimally invasive treatments before oral surgery. Oral surgery is best saved for advanced periodontitis, where damage has occurred to the gums and teeth. We may coordinate treatment with an oral surgeon to restore your dental health.
Non-surgical periodontal treatments for gum disease can include:
- Antibacterial Rinses: For mild gingivitis, and patients considered at greater risk for developing chronic gum disease, at-home rinses may be recommended. We may prescribe an antibacterial rinse to incorporate into your daily oral hygiene routine.
- Scaling and Root Planing: If plaque and tartar have built up along the gum line and tooth roots, scaling and root planing may be used. This deep cleaning process gently removes all bacteria and promotes tissue healing. This process is usually reserved for patients with advanced periodontal disease but can be done to any patient.
Periodontal therapy is usually a painless process and serves to improve not only gum health but overall oral health and wellness. Give us a call at (508) 342-1519, or request an appointment online today to find out more about our dental services.
Gum Disease FAQs
What are common risk factors for gum disease?
There are many risk factors that make you more susceptible to gum disease. While genetics does play a role, your everyday habits play a larger role. These habits include smoking, chewing tobacco, not brushing daily, not flossing daily, and not taking care of your overall health. Conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis are considered risk factors of gum disease. Staying healthy, avoiding tobacco in any form, maintaining proper at-home oral health care, and visiting your dentist twice a year will prevent gum disease.
Does gum disease lead to tooth loss?
Yes, gum disease plays a huge role in missing and damaged teeth. Your gums are responsible for helping keep your teeth in place and they provide a tight seal around the tooth to keep bacteria out. Once gum disease progresses, bacteria can reach the bone and internal tooth structure causing serious damage. This damage can be irreversible and the tooth will eventually fall out.
Can my gingivitis be cured?
Gingivitis can typically be treated and reversed when caught early which is why regular dental visits are so important. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease and can be tackled with strict oral care habits such as brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day. Dr. Patel may recommend adding a special mouthwash to your daily oral care routine. Keeping up with your twice-a-year teeth cleanings is also vital.