While gingivitis can be reversed with diligent oral hygiene efforts at home, gum disease requires the help of a professional. Gum disease, or periodontitis, means that the areas of infection have progressed and reached depths that your toothbrush and floss can no longer reach. If left untreated, this causes the gum tissue to separate from the teeth and the teeth to become unstable. The advanced stages of gum disease can also result in bone loss.
How do you know if your gingivitis has progressed to gum disease? Besides letting your dentist take a good look every six months during your routine exam, you should be aware of the following signs of gum disease:
- bleeding gums
- tooth sensitivity
- bad breath
- heavy tartar buildup
- food packing between teeth
- tooth mobility
If you notice any of these signs, go ahead and schedule a dental appointment sooner rather than later. You will need the help of your dentist to fight this disease. Eliminating gum disease not only preserves your teeth but it also protects your overall health. Gum disease is known for its link to heart disease and diabetes.
What can you expect when it comes to gum disease treatment? It all depends on the stage and severity of your condition. Your dentist may recommend a deep cleaning using ultrasonic scalers to remove the buildup and bacteria in your gum pockets. This gives your gum tissues a chance to reattach and be healthy. Your dentist may also want to see you on a more regular basis, perhaps every three months. Patients will also need to take disciplined action with their brushing and flossing routine at home. More advanced periodontal disease may require other treatments such as laser gum therapy or oral surgery. The good news is that gum disease can be reversed as long as you are smart enough to let your dentist help.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,