The onset of gum disease may not readily be noticeable, which is the reason why proper oral health care maintenance should be practiced in combination with regular visits to your dentist at Acorn Dental Care. It is much better to deal with gum disease in its earliest stages – when it can be stopped from further progressing, before no other dental problems or complications have developed.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease is caused by plaque; plaque is a film of bacteria that is formed on the surface of the teeth and gums on a daily basis. Most of the bacteria found in plaque are completely harmless, but there are some that have been shown to be the main cause of gum disease. To prevent and treat gum disease, it is important to remove all traces of plaque from the surface of teeth everyday – this can successfully and efficiently done with proper tooth brushing techniques, and with the use of dental floss.
Video: Gum Disease
- A healthy tooth.
- Plaque builds up gum and bone may begin to recede.
- Sometimes the gum recedes with the bone and sometimes it doesn’t.
- Either way the tooth may become mobile.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Here are some of the symptoms or signs that can alert one to the presence of gum disease:
- Swollen, tender, or red gums
- Gums easily bleed during or after tooth brushing
- Receding gums
- Shifting/loosening of teeth
- Formation of deep pockets in between the gums and the teeth
Types of Gum Diseases
Gingivitis – The mildest form of gum disease, characterized by red, swollen, or inflamed gums that easily bleed during tooth brushing. Gingivitis is commonly caused by improper oral hygiene habits, but can also be caused by smoking or the use of tobacco products, certain medical conditions, or as effects of specific medications.
Periodontitis/Periodontal Disease – Gingivitis that is left undiagnosed or untreated can turn into periodontal disease or periodontitis. There are a number of types of periodontal diseases, and each one of these periodontal diseases affects the tissues supporting the teeth. As the periodontal disease gets worse, the bone tissue anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost, making the teeth loose or shifting them from their original position. Periodontal disease or periodontitis that is left untreated may cause the teeth to eventually fall out.
The Treatment of Gum Disease
Treatment of gum disease is important in preventing a mild form of gum disease (gingivitis) from turning into a more serious one (periodontitis or periodontal disease). The type of gum disease treatment to be used will depend on the severity or extent of the gum problem.
Deep Cleaning – Scaling and root planing are deep cleaning treatments for gum disease. Scaling involves the scraping off or the tartar deposits from both above and below the gum line, while root planing is the removal of the rough spots that have formed on the root of the tooth, as these rough spots are areas where germs can gather and cause more gum problems.
Use of Medications – Medications can be used in combination with a deep cleaning treatment for gum disease. However, depending on the extent of the gum disease, medications alone may not be enough to completely treat the problem – and surgery may still be needed. Some of the medications that are used for gum disease treatment include antibiotic gels, antibiotic microspheres, enzyme suppressants, prescription antimicrobial mouth rinse, antibiotic chip, and oral antibiotics.
Surgical Treatments – In cases when deep cleaning treatments and the use of medications are not enough to treat the gum disease, surgical treatments will need to be done.
A flap surgery will minimise deep periodontal pockets, as well as remove tartar deposits which may not be completely removed with a deep cleaning treatment. In a flap surgery procedure, the gums are lifted to gain access to the deep tartar deposits, and will then be stitched back in place after the procedure is completed.
Bone and soft tissue grafts are surgical treatments which help in the regeneration of bone or gum tissue that have deteriorated due to periodontitis. Bone grafting involves the use of natural or synthetic bone material to be placed in the area where bone deterioration has occurred, to aid in bone growth/regeneration. A soft tissue graft is used to address the loss of gum tissue; this procedure involves the use of either gum tissue from another part of the mouth, or a synthetic material, to cover the tooth roots that have been exposed due to gum tissue loss.