Gentle Treatment for Healthier Gums
Millions of adults in this country currently have some form of periodontal (gum) disease. Cases range from mild gum inflammation to serious infection that can destroy the tissue and bone that support the teeth. At its worst, gum disease can lead to tooth loss.
If you have developed gum disease, it is crucial that you work with a top dentist to get it under control. Dr. Andrew Hunter offers periodontal treatment in El Cajon for healthier gums and better dental health.
The Progression of Gum Disease
The mouth naturally contains a lot of bacteria, which can form a sticky substance called plaque on the teeth. If plaque is not removed by daily brushing and flossing, it can turn into a harder material called tartar, which cannot be removed with brushing. Plaque and tartar that sit on the teeth for a longer time can inflame the gums, causing the early and mild stage of gum disease called gingivitis.
Left untreated, gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. At this point, the gums start to pull away from the teeth, forming spaces or pockets where even more bacteria can accumulate. These pockets can become infected and eventually, the gum tissue and bone that holds the teeth in place starts to deteriorate. In the most advanced cases of gum disease, the teeth loosen and fall out or need to be extracted.
Gum disease can have other serious implications. Scientific research shows a link between periodontal disease and other systemic health conditions. People with serious gum disease are more likely to suffer heart disease, have problems controlling their blood sugar, deliver preterm babies and develop other health conditions.
If you have developed some form of gum disease, it is imperative that you have it treated before it becomes a bigger threat to your oral and overall health. Signs that you may have gum disease include the following:
- red or swollen gums
- tender or bleeding gums
- chronic bad breath
- pain when chewing
- receding gums or teeth that appear longer
- tooth sensitivity
Treating Gum Disease
The primary goal of gum disease treatment is to control the infection so it doesn’t spread.
The first step is to maintain good at-home oral hygiene habits (i.e., twice-daily brushing and daily flossing) and cutting out behaviors like smoking, which can exacerbate gum disease.
Next, a deep cleaning, known as scaling and root planing, is recommended. This involves removing plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line, eliminating the harmful bacteria. Root planing disinfects rough spots on the roots of the teeth, which are common spots for bacteria to gather.
Antibiotics or other medications may be prescribed in conjunction with scaling and root planing. These medications may take the form of a gel, mouth rinse, tablet or capsule. They may be taken orally or administered topically to the gums.
Advanced forms of periodontal disease may require surgery to treat deep gum pockets or help regenerate lost bone or gum tissue. The specific procedure depends on the severity of the case and other factors. Every case is different and requires a unique approach.
Schedule an Exam with Dr. Hunter
If you notice your gums are tender or bleeding, you might be in the early stages of gum disease. To be screened, please call (619) 444-6157 or email our office today and request an appointment with Dr. Hunter.