Treating And Fighting Gum Disease
Your gums are an essential part of keeping your mouth as healthy as possible. If your gums are diseased or infected, it can hurt your smile and limit your ability to eat.
In the United States, untreated gum disease leads to more tooth loss than any other cause — more than tooth decay and cavities and more than injuries and accidents.
The staff at our dentist office in Rochester Hills, MI, wants you to keep your mouth, and therefore your gums, as healthy as possible. This is why we encourage all our patients to practice good preventive care at home and through routine cleanings and examinations at our office.
We also want you to visit us as soon as you can when you see the signs of gum disease, so we can treat it quickly and effectively.
Do You Have Gum Disease Already?
You just might.
The American Dental Hygienists Association reported that 80 percent of the population has some form of periodontal disease. The Centers for Disease Control concluded after a recent study that more than 47 percent of adults 30 and older have periodontitis, which is considered the advanced form of gum disease.
In light of recent news stories, we thought this would be a good time to review the symptom of both mild and advanced gum disease.
▷ Gingivitis, mild gum disease
▪︎ Gum that bleed when you brush or floss
▪︎ Gums that look swollen
▪︎ Gums that look redder than usual
The bleeding is some you may notice as you are brushing and flossing or when you spit into the sink. The redness and swelling are not warning signs. They are evidence that your gums are infected.
How can it be treated? Many times you can reverse the symptoms of gingivitis by brushing and flossing according to the American Dental Association guidelines.
Less than half of Americans do not follow the ADA recommendation to floss daily. When you do floss, it’s also important that you do it correctly. The ADA has created an illustrated guide, which you can find here, that shows the proper steps in flossing.
There are other tools that you can use to clean the spaces between your teeth by below your gumline.
Water flossers spray a stream of water into your mouth to remove food particles and plaque.
Flossers have short handles with a strand of floss on the other end. Many people find these more comfortable to use than dental floss.
▷ Periodontitis, advanced gum disease
▪︎ The symptoms of gingivitis
▪︎ Gums that feel tender or sore, particularly when eating
▪︎ Gums that bleed easily (that is more often than just when you are brushing and flossing)
▪︎ Receding gums, or gums that appear to be pulling away from your teeth
▪︎ Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth that doesn’t go away
▪︎ Pus coming from your gums
▪︎ Teeth that feel loose
Gum tissue helps to hold your teeth in place. As your gums recede, that hold becomes weaker. The bacteria that cause gum disease also can attack your jawbone, which can add to the looseness of your teeth.
This should help explain how periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss.
How can it be treated? At this point, extra flossing isn’t going to make much of a difference. You will need professional help, like the non-surgical periodontal treatment that we provide at Hubbard & Leath Dental.
When you come for a routine cleaning, a dentist or hygienist will use a tool called a scaler (which has a small hook on the ends) to remove plaque and tartar from the crowns of your teeth.
With scaling and root planing, we will be going below the gumline to remove plaque and tartar that has built up on your roots. We want you to be as comfortable as possible during this treatment.
We can provide a local anesthetic to numb the soft tissues of your mouth, or we can use sedation options like nitrous oxide to ensure the procedure is pain-free.
Many times this is enough to remove the infection and to allow your gums to heal. If additional treatment is needed, we will discuss those next steps with you during your visit.
Keep Your Gums Healthy
We want you to keep your teeth, which is why we also want you to care for your gums.
Part of doing that should include visiting our dentist office a few times every year for cleanings and examinations.
You can schedule your next visit by calling 248.266.2528 or by filling out our online form. If you are a new patient, then we encourage you to download and print our new patient forms so you can fill them out before you arrive for your appointment.