Periodontal disease, more commonly called gum disease, occurs when the gum tissue surrounding your teeth becomes swollen and infected. It is very common, and if left unchecked, can cause tooth loss. While a minor case of gingivitis can be addressed with careful brushing and flossing, periodontal disease becomes more self-aggravating the further it develops, making it impossible to reverse without help.
The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis, or swollen gums. Your gums may be puffy, red, and tender, and may bleed easily. While gingivitis by itself is only an annoyance, it must be treated promptly, or it will develop into periodontitis.
In its early stages, periodontitis causes the gums to pull back from the teeth, forming pockets where tartar and bacteria thrive. This causes further irritation, which worsens the condition of the gums and causes even more serious infection. The gums, teeth, and bones all deteriorate due to the activity of bacteria and the body’s immune response. This condition is painful and destructive, leading to irreversible damage.
Some symptoms have been discussed above, but the full list of possible signs includes:
Any of these symptoms beyond minor redness or swelling is an indication of serious gum disease, and should be seen by your dentist right away.
While anyone is at risk of developing gum disease, especially without adequate dental hygiene, some are at greater risk than others. Factors that contribute to the development of periodontal disease include:
If you possess any of these risk factors, you should pay particular attention to your dental hygiene and take precautions against infection.
Your options for gum disease treatment depend upon the severity of your case and other factors affecting your dental health. If your case is mild, we may recommend treatments to straighten teeth or address other risk factors, as well as renewed attention to your daily tooth care regimen. If your periodontal disease has advanced to the point of periodontitis, we will take measures to clean out your periodontal pockets and remove the tartar irritating them. Dental Excellence offers laser gum surgery, including LANAP, a procedure designed to reduce your periodontal pockets by encouraging the gum tissue to reattach to the teeth.
None of these treatments can be successful without removing the infection, and that can only happen with your cooperation. Your everyday dental hygiene is paramount in your recovery from periodontal disease. At Dental Excellence, we will do whatever we can to help you battle gum disease and tooth decay—but the final responsibility is yours. Contact us today and begin the process of healing your mouth.