Millions of people have been treated for gum disease — and many more don’t even realize they have it.
As a patient, being told that you have this disease can be scary. However, the more you learn about it and begin to understand it, the more you realize that the prognosis is only grim if you don’t take action.
Here is everything you need to know about gum disease and the treatment options available for it.
What is Gum Disease?
Simply stated, gum disease is an infection of the gums. As bacteria, tartar, and plaque are left to build up in your mouth, this infection can begin to spread. It may start out with sore gums, but it can lead to a total loss of teeth.
A few signs that you may be dealing with gum disease include:
- Sore gums
- Bleeding gums
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
- Chronic bad breath
- Difficulty chewing
- Gum pockets
- Red or swollen gums
Seeking treatment as soon as possible is crucial. At the first sign something is going on with your gums, contact your dentist.
Is Gum Disease Curable?
Gum disease is treatable. Though just how well it responds to treatment will depend on how far it has progressed.
Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease and it is the only one in which treatment can reverse the damage, giving you a fresh start. This doesn’t mean that treatment won’t be successful for more advanced stages of the disease. Instead of reversing it, treating it will stop it from spreading further.
Treating Gum Disease
The most common treatment available for gum disease is a two-step process known as scaling and root planing. Consider it a very deep cleaning for your teeth.
Scaling is the first step. This is when the teeth and the gums are thoroughly cleaned, removing any buildup of plaque and tartar that has formed in pockets around the gums. Because this can allow the bacteria to go deep down within the gums and spread infection, treatment needs to reach these depths, too.
During the procedure, all the plaque and tartar are removed, and the pockets are emptied out. To ensure that the infection is caught, antiseptic is used way down within the gums.
Next up is root planing. This is the part of the procedure that helps the gums to reattach to the teeth. Using special tools, the roots will be smoothed out under the gum line, and the gums will be made to fit up against the tooth. Doing this will encourage them to reconnect with the tooth’s surface over time so that no more buildup can occur.
Can Gum Disease Be Prevented?
Gum disease is preventable, and it all starts with good oral hygiene. Brushing thoroughly at least twice per day and flossing well daily can each give you a greater chance to fight off the disease. However, it is routine cleanings at the dentist every six months that really allow you to avoid the dangers of gum disease.
Not only will regular dental visits give you an opportunity to have buildup removed that you cannot see at home, but it also means that the tiniest signs of gum disease can be caught early.
Need Treatment for Gum Disease?
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of gum disease or have been told you have gum disease, then the team at San Francisco Dental Wellness can help. We provide various general and restorative treatments that can halt the progression of the disease or reverse it entirely. Dr. Chui is the clinical director at the San Francisco VA medical center and provides effective treatment to veterans suffering from complex TMJ disorders. Our goal is for everyone to have a functioning, healthy mouth.