Gum Disease Treatment: What You Need To Know

You probably know that if you do not brush and floss your teeth every day, you could get a cavity, but you may not be aware of the dire effects poor oral hygiene has on your gums. Gum disease is serious. Here's what you need to know.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth.

What causes gum disease?

Periodontal disease is caused by the buildup of plaque bacteria on the teeth. If not removed, plaque can harden into tartar, which leads to inflammation and infection of the gums.

What are the symptoms of gum disease?

Gum disease can be painless, so it is vital to be aware of the symptoms. These include:

  • Swollen or tender gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Gums that pull away from the teeth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Pus between the teeth and gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitive teeth

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your dentist or hygienist at your next cleaning.

How is gum disease treated?

Gum disease treatment has many stages depending on how advanced your gum disease is. The first line of treatment for periodontal disease is a professional cleaning by a dentist or hygienist, which involves removing the tartar from the teeth above the gum line. In many cases, a dental cleaning can reverse the early stages of gum disease.

Additional treatments may be necessary if the disease has progressed to more advanced stages. These can include:

  • Scaling and root planing. This is a deep cleaning of the teeth and roots. Scaling and root planing involves removing the tartar from below the gum line and smoothing the rough surfaces of the roots to prevent bacteria from building up.
  • Antibiotics. These can be in the form of a pill or mouth rinse and are used to control the infection.
  • Surgery. Sometimes, you may need to visit a periodontist as surgery may be necessary to remove the tartar from the teeth or restore damaged gum tissue.

What is the aftercare for gum disease treatment?

After receiving treatment for gum disease, it is essential to practice good oral hygiene to prevent the disease from recurring. Additionally, your dentist or periodontist may request that your teeth be cleaned quarterly to avoid any new tartar buildup.

What can you do to prevent gum disease?

You can help prevent gum disease by:

  • Brushing twice a day
  • Flossing daily
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Using an antibacterial mouthwash
  • Visiting your dentist regularly

Additionally, research shows that quitting smoking can help reduce gum disease risk.

If you are already experiencing symptoms of gum disease, talk to your dentist about gum disease treatment options.