There’s no combination of words that includes “disease” that sounds like a good thing, that’s for sure. Here’s one you’ve heard a lot — “gum” disease. Sounds awful, but what is it?
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is also often referred to as periodontal disease — an even worse-sounding name. Whether you call it gum disease or periodontal disease, gum disease is an infection of the soft tissues that surround your teeth and line your gums. While it’s easy to overlook your gums, you really shouldn’t. They’re important because they seal your teeth and the sensitive parts of your teeth and jaw from bacteria in your mouth. Gum infections can degrade those tissues, reduce the protection they provide to the roots of your teeth, and allow infection to progress into and beyond your mouth and jaw.
Gum disease presents in two forms: as minor and reversible gingivitis; and as much more serious and dangerous periodontitis. If you have questions about gingivitis, by all means speak to your dentist in Cooper City. They’ll certainly let you know if they see any signs of gingivitis during any of your regular dental appointments, but will always be happy to answer your questions. In this article, though, we’ll answer some questions about the more serious form of gum disease — periodontitis. The most common cause of periodontitis is the accumulation of plaque on your teeth that develops into tartar and that causes persistent gum inflammation if allowed to remain in place.
Is periodontitis a big deal?
By the time gum disease has progressed beyond reversible gingivitis to become periodontitis, your oral health is at serious risk. Gum disease treatment in Cooper City to address periodontitis will be necessary to prevent bone loss in your jaw and even tooth loss.
What are the symptoms of periodontitis?
Understanding what gum disease looks like is easier when you realize what healthy gums are supposed to look like. Healthy gum tissue is pale pink, firm, and lays around the base of your teeth snugly. Here, on the other hand, are symptoms of periodontitis:
- Puffy and swollen gums that bleed easily
- Gum tissue that is red or purple rather than pink
- If your toothbrush is bloody or you spit out blood after brushing or flossing
- If it hurts to chew
- If you have persistent bad breath
- Pus oozing from between your teeth or beneath the lip of your gums
- There seem to be wider spaces between your teeth
- Your teeth feel loose, or you’ve lost teeth
- If your gums seem to be shrinking or your teeth look longer than usual.
How can periodontitis be treated?
Unless periodontitis is treated effectively, the bacteria that cause the condition can enter your bloodstream and spread elsewhere in your body. Those bacteria can contribute to the development of respiratory disease, coronary artery disease, difficulty regulating your blood sugar, and rheumatoid arthritis. All those conditions are in addition to the loss of teeth and gum tissue in your mouth. To prevent these serious implications of periodontitis, options for gum disease treatment near you include non-surgical and surgical options.
Non-surgical treatment options for periodontitis at a dentist near you include scaling, root planing, and antibiotics to address the bacterial infection. Advanced periodontitis may require surgery. Surgical treatment options include: pocket reduction surgery, soft tissue grafts, bone grafting, guided tissue regeneration, and the application of tissue-stimulating proteins.
The more progressive periodontitis becomes, the greater risk it poses to your oral and general health. The good news, though, is that all forms of gum disease are preventable. Preventing the development of periodontitis is as simple as: a commitment to diligent daily hygiene; supported by attending regular dental checkups every six months; and receiving all recommended dental care, including annual teeth cleanings. Are you concerned about the state of your gums? Ask a dentist near you to take a close look.