Gum disease, also known as periodontitis, is a serious gum inflection that damages the soft tissue of your mouth. It can also damage the bone that supports your teeth if left untreated. (Mayo Clinic) Some cases of acute periodontal (gum) disease that do not respond to more conventional treatment and self-care, such as flossing, may require a special kind of cleaning called scaling and root planing.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Early-stage gum disease is started by plaque buildup. As the buildup gets worse, the plaque can form on your teeth, harden under your gumline into tartar, cause gingivitis, and give you ongoing gum inflammation. Each of these can lead to periodontitis. (Mayo Clinic)
Although gum disease is common, it is also very preventative. It is usually a result of poor oral hygiene, which can be fixed by brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and going in for regular dental checkups. Completing these daily hygiene tasks will increase your chances of successful treatment of gum disease and decrease your chances of developing it again. (Mayo Clinic)
Symptoms of Gum Disease
If you have healthy gums, they should be light pink in color, firm to the touch, and snug to your teeth. Warning signs of gum disease and unhealthy gums include:
- Swollen or puffy gums
- Receding gums
- Bright red or purplish gums
- Gums that are tender to the touch
- Gums that bleed easily
- Bad breath
- And more
The following factors increase your risk of developing periodontitis:
- Poor oral care (limited brushing and flossing)
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Recreational drug use (smoking marijuana or vaping)
- And more
How to Treat Gum Disease
A common treatment for gum disease is professional cleaning. The procedure begins with the administration of a local anesthetic to reduce any discomfort. Then, a small instrument called a "scaler," or an ultrasonic cleaner, is used to clean beneath your gum line to remove plaque and tartar.
The root surfaces on the tooth are then planed and smoothed. If effective, scaling and root planing help the gums reattach themselves to the tooth structure. Additional measures may be needed if the periodontal pockets persist after scaling and root planing.
If you are experiencing issues with your teeth and gums, please schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
Experiencing gum disease symptoms? Contact us for treatment options!