Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease or periodontitis, is a disease that has more than 64 million people in the US living with the condition. Research has shown that more than 50% of adults over the age of 30 have some type of periodontal disease. But as so many people don’t know what to look for, these will go unnoticed until the condition worsens. If left, it may cause infections, inflammation, or can result in a loss of teeth.
What Are the Stages of Gum Disease?
Gum disease is caused by plaque building up and it can be classified into various stages. The common symptoms associated with gum disease include:
- Tender gums that are either swollen or red.
- Bleeding gums when brushing your teeth.
- Teeth feel like they are loose or shifting.
- Deep “pockets” between your teeth and in the gums.
- Bad breath on a regular basis or a bad taste in the mouth.
These symptoms can occur during the early stages, but they can be more prominent later on. This is why you need to know what stage of the condition you are in. The two key stages are grouped as the following:
This is the most common stage of periodontal gum disease. Some of the above symptoms may be present, but certain symptoms like swollen gums may come and go at different stages. Gingivitis is such a common symptom that it can arise from various causes, and not just poor oral hygiene. It can arise from health conditions like diabetes, side effects of certain medications, and many more. But this stage is easier to treat rather than when it is in the more severe stages. Generally, gingivitis can clear up between 10 and 14 days if treated early on.
If gingivitis is left untreated, it can turn into gum disease or periodontal disease. This will be noticeable because the above symptoms will be more frequent and more prominent. In addition, you may notice your teeth starting to wobble. This is because the supporting gums and jawbone cannot support the teeth properly. But this can take some time to develop.
What Are the Procedures for Gum Disease?
Luckily, gum disease treatment comprises a wide variety of procedures. There are non-anesthetic and anesthetic procedures available and the type of treatment needed will depend on the severity of the gum disease. If gum disease is in the gingivitis stage, a simple dental cleaning may be enough to treat the underlying condition. However, if gingivitis has turned into gum disease, there may be more surgical procedures such as bone grafts and soft tissue grafting deemed necessary to help. They can be broken down into the the the following types of treatment:
Non-Surgical Treatment Options
For individuals that have the early stages of periodontitis or gingivitis, deep cleanings, dental scaling, and antibiotic rinses may be enough to clean out any threatening bacteria to help your gums and teeth return to their normal health, and can consist of some of the following options:
Professional dental cleaning such as plaque removal can help. This is normally done as part of a typical check-up.
Scaling and root planing. This is where the plaque is removed from deep within the gums and is made smooth to stop bacteria from re-entering those pockets.
Medications including prescription antiseptics and antibiotics can also be prescribed to reduce the build-up of bacteria.
Surgical Treatment Options
When non-surgical treatment is not deemed sufficient, some options can include the following:
Bone and soft tissue grafts may be necessary if the damage is too severe. This is where a graft replaces the bone or soft tissue to improve the function of your teeth.
Guided tissue regeneration may be done in place of a graft. This serves the purpose of regrowing the gum and the bone, if possible.
Flap surgery and pocket reduction. This is where the gums are lifted back to remove the tartar, which is a more detailed approach than root planing. The gums are then put back into the original place and closer to the tooth to prevent any pockets from reappearing.
LANAP is also another treatment option that is becoming more popular. Standing for Laser-Assisted New Attachment Procedure, this is where a small periodontal laser probe is put into the gingival pockets. The light removes any affected tissue while also disinfecting the area. Laser treatments are becoming more popular due to their precision, and LANAP can remove up to 99.9% of bacteria from within the gingival pocket. In addition to this, LANAP is beneficial from the patient’s perspective, as it is a quicker procedure than traditional oral surgery and does not require the use of stitches resulting in faster recovery, making it a far more convenient option for individuals with busy lives.
Schedule an Appointment
Gum disease is a common complaint, but it is not something that you need to worry about, just as long as you exercise care when it comes to your oral health. We will do our best to treat any signs of gum disease, but this is where our team will work with you to assess your personal needs. Getting gum disease treatment depends on the severity of your individual case, as well as the risk factors affecting your overall dental health.
If you are experiencing mild symptoms of gum disease, we may recommend basic treatments to address certain risk factors such as looking at your daily tooth care regime. However, if your gum disease has advanced to periodontitis, we will work to provide the most suitable treatment for your situation. Our team of doctors guarantees we have a wide range of experience. If you have any questions or want to address existing concerns, schedule an appointment with us to discuss your options. Gum disease may be present in more than 64 million Americans, but you don’t have to be one of them. Schedule an appointment with us today and we can get you started on the road to optimum oral health.