Although it affects millions of people every year, gum disease is a largely preventable and treatable condition. When caught early, its effects can be halted or even reversed. If it goes untreated, however, gum disease can lead to broader health problems and costly procedures.
Castle Dental offers gum disease treatment and prevention as part of our comprehensive dental care services. From routine cleanings and oral exams to gum grafting and dental implants, we can help restore a healthy, beautiful smile that will last you a lifetime.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects your gums. Bacteria accumulates in the gum tissue, resulting in reddened, swollen gums that can bleed while flossing. Eventually, the swelling and inflammation will become an infection that starts to impact the health and integrity of the teeth and jaw bones.
Gum disease progresses through several stages, but can generally be categorized as either gingivitis, which is an early stage that can be reversed, or periodontitis/periodontal disease, a more severe infection that cannot be reversed and has to be treated to prevent bone and tooth loss.
What are the symptoms of gingivitis?
The symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Puffy, red gums and oral tissue
- Gums that bleed when flossing
- Persistent bad breath
- Sore or tender gums when chewing
- Early gum recession
How is gingivitis treated?
These symptoms can often be halted or even reversed with improvements to daily oral hygiene, routine dental cleanings, and other nonsurgical treatment such as:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day. This is the most effective first step you can take in improving your dental health outcomes. If your gums are too sensitive to brushing at first, try a softer bristle and sensitivity toothpaste.
- Floss every day. Cleaning between your teeth keeps plaque and bacteria from accumulating in your mouth. Gingivitis can make flossing slightly uncomfortable at first, but it will eventually get better the longer and more frequently you do it.
- Rinse your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash. If flossing every day is too painful, a daily rinse of your mouth is a good substitute until the swelling and tenderness in your gums gets better.
- Avoid, reduce, or quit smoking or chewing tobacco. Tobacco and nicotine use can exacerbate gingivitis, as well as cause it. Talk with your dentist or your primary care doctor about ways to cut back or stop using tobacco or nicotine products.
- Have a professional dental cleaning at least twice a year. Professional cleanings can help remove bacteria, plaque, and tartar that have built up in the hard-to-reach places of your mouth and reduce inflammation and irritation in your gums. They also provide an opportunity for your dentist to assess any progression of gingivitis and recommend additional treatments to keep it from getting worse.
Gingivitis will not resolve on its own; if it isn’t treated, it will progress to periodontitis.
What are the symptoms of periodontitis?
The symptoms of periodontitis include:
- Pus pockets between the teeth and gums
- Loose teeth
- Severely reddened or swollen gums
- Gums that are painful to the touch
- Increasing spaces between the gum and teeth (called periodontal pockets)
- Receding gum lines
- Severe tooth pain
How is periodontitis treated?
Periodontitis must be treated with professional dental care. If not, it could lead to tooth loss and wide-spread infection. The type of treatment will usually depend on which stage of periodontitis you are in. Earlier stages can often be treated with a dental deep cleaning, improved oral hygiene, and routine cleanings. Later stages, however, will usually require more extensive treatment procedures.
Treatments for periodontitis include:
- Scaling and planing. This process is a deep cleaning for a patient with extensive tartar buildup, so much so that the gums have started to detach from the teeth. Your dentist will first clean off any tartar and plaque from the teeth and below the gumline, then smooth out the tooth roots below the gumline so the gums can re-attach and begin the healing process.
- Flap surgery. Flap surgery is common for patients with more advanced stages of periodontitis and gum disease, specifically to reduce the depth of the periodontal pockets.
- Tissue grafts and tissue regeneration. Tissue grafting is the process of surgically removing healthy oral tissue from other parts of a patient’s mouth and grafting it to areas of gum recession, allowing the gums to reattach to the teeth.
What causes gum disease?
There are many factors that can lead to gum disease and can range from genetics to lifestyle.
- Smoking and chewing tobacco can inhibit the otherwise normal function of your gums and oral tissue, making your mouth more susceptible to gum disease.
- Diabetes can make you more likely to develop gum disease symptoms, and gum disease can make managing your diabetes harder.
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy and monthly menstrual cycles can increase inflammation and your risk of gum disease.
- Advanced age is commonly associated with increased plaque buildup on the teeth and gums, which can lead to gum disease.
What does it cost to treat gum disease?
The cost of your gum disease treatment will depend on the severity of your condition and the type of procedure required. However, treatment is necessary for gum disease; it will not get better on its own.
That’s why Castle Dental offers convenient, affordable gum disease treatment, because we don’t believe anyone should avoid the care they need because of cost. Whether your insurance is one of the many we accept or you need flexible payment and financing options, Castle Dental will help make sure getting treatment for gum disease fits your budget. You can also take advantage of our OneSmile dental plan, which offers free x-rays and cleanings as well as discounts on all dental services.
Take Care of Your Gums with Castle Dental
Gum disease, especially the later stages, is largely preventable with good oral hygiene and routine checkups and cleanings. If you are concerned you may be developing gum disease, or if it’s just been awhile since your last visit to the dentist, schedule an appointment at the Castle Dental location nearest you. It’s never too late to start taking charge of your oral health!