Your Guide to Gum Disease
Gum disease happens when the immune system reacts to a buildup of plaque and bacteria around teeth and gums. One of its most common causes is poor oral care. Not regularly removing plaque and bacteria from your teeth and gums will eventually cause your gums to become infected.
While oral care is important, there are things that can make you more susceptible to developing gum disease than others. Some risk factors include:
• Smoking and tobacco use
• Hormonal changes in girls and women
• Poor nutrition
• Certain medications
• Diabetes and heart disease
Types of Gum Disease
Gum disease comes in two forms:
• Gingivitis is a milder form that causes the gums to become red, swollen and more susceptible to bleeding. This stage of gum disease is reversible with proper home care, including brushing and flossing regularly. If not treated, this can progress to periodontitis.
• Periodontitis destroys the tissue and bones that support the teeth. It causes the gums to pull away from the teeth to form gaps or pockets that become infected. Your teeth may become loose and may have to be removed.
How to Treat Gingivitis and Other Gum Disease
Some types of gum disease can be reversed. The treatment for gingivitis includes a thorough professional cleaning and the implementation of a strict home dental care regimen, including daily flossing and brushing twice a day.
Periodontitis requires more aggressive forms of treatment, such as:
• Deep cleaning. If a regular cleaning isn’t enough, your dentist may suggest dental scaling and root planing. For this procedure, a local anesthetic is applied, and a laser is used to remove tartar and plaque below the gum line. The root surfaces are then smoothed. This can help the gums to reattach to the tooth, closing the pockets.
• Medication. An antibiotic may be used to treat the infection. This can be in the form of mouthwash, gel placed in the pockets after a scaling and planing procedure or oral tablets.
• Oral surgery. In some cases, surgery may be necessary. The gums may be tightened, and grafts can be used to help bone growth.
No matter what treatment is used, proper oral hygiene is necessary to stop gum disease from returning or progressing.
Make an Appointment with a Dentist in Langley
If you think you suffer from gum disease, make an appointment with Amazing Smile Dental’s resident periodontist, Dr. Xing. Call us today for an appointment.