Get help for gum disease
Gum disease affects nearly half of all American adults, and most people are unaware that they have this potentially serious oral health condition. But without proper care, gum disease can cause permanent damage to your gums and to the support structures of your teeth.
Read on to learn more about gum disease and periodontal care, or contact St. Clair Tooth Co. to get a check-up with Dr. Carly Cassleman and make sure your teeth and gums are healthy.
the basics of gum disease
what you need to know
Gum disease is a preventable oral health condition that’s caused by poor oral hygiene. If you do not brush and floss properly or see the dentist for preventive care, tartar and plaque will build up between your teeth and your gums.
Over time, the bacteria in plaque and tartar will begin to attack your gums, causing inflammation. This is the first stage of gum disease, which is also known as “gingivitis.” It’s reversible with timely periodontal care and proper oral hygiene.
However, if it’s not treated, gingivitis will progress into periodontitis. In this stage of the disease, permanent damage is done to the gums and support structures of your teeth. However, you can still get care to halt its progression and save your smile.
Finally, untreated periodontitis can progress into “advanced periodontitis,” which typically results in the loss of one or more of your natural teeth. Surgical treatment may be required to resolve this condition, and in some cases you may need to have your remaining teeth extracted and replaced with dental implants or dentures.
Do I need periodontal care?
common signs of gum disease
The initial stage of gum disease is gingivitis, and is characterized by relatively minor symptoms, such as bleeding when brushing and flossing, swelling and inflammation of the gums, and discolored or dark gums. You may also experience bad breath (halitosis) due to the buildup of oral bacteria.
Periodontitis and advanced periodontitis have more severe symptoms, such as a shift in how your teeth fit together, teeth that look longer (due to gum recession), a foul taste in your mouth, the formation of deep “pockets” between your teeth and gums, and teeth that are loose or fall out.
Treating gum disease
Periodontal care options
Because gingivitis is reversible but periodontitis is not, it’s important to get help for gum disease as soon as you can. The most commonly used treatment is “deep cleaning,” which is also known as “scaling & root planing.”
This procedure consists of two appointments at St. Clair Tooth Co. with Dr. Cassleman, who will clean half of your mouth during each one. Dr. Cassleman will numb your mouth, then use dental tools to scrape away plaque and tartar from between your teeth and gums. She will also smooth out the roots of your teeth to eliminate bacteria “pockets” that contribute to gum disease.
Along with antibiotics and proper at-home oral care, scaling and deep cleaning can reverse gingivitis and halt periodontitis. However, it may not be enough to treat severe cases of gum disease, which may require surgical treatments like gum flap surgery and gum grafting.