Gum disease is a fairly common condition that affects the supporting structures of the teeth. As a disease plaguing millions in the United States alone, the condition can cause a wide range of problems, from tooth loss to an increased risk of stroke or heart disease.
It’s quite evident that oral health has a significant impact on your overall wellness, and this is especially true when it comes to gum disease. This is why it is so important to attend regular preventative visits at our office and develop a strong home hygiene routine. By taking steps to address the disease in its earliest stages, you have a great chance of securing your natural smile’s health for life.
There are many ways to protect your smile, including brushing and flossing regularly, seeing our providers for regular checkups, and gaining awareness of any irregularities in your teeth and gum tissues. One of the most troubling characteristics of the condition is its ability to go unnoticed for such extended periods of time; in fact, it is only when the disease progresses to an incurable stage that many patients recognize its presence.
If you have gum disease, please rest assured that it can be treated when discovered early. Even in its later stages, the condition can be well managed with the support of dental experts. Just be sure to visit us for regular appointments and contact us as soon as possible if you notice the signs of gum disease in your smile.
Please read below to learn more about gum disease. If you have any questions, contact our Raleigh, NC dental professionals for assistance!
Stages & Symptoms
There are three stages of gum disease: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. Each stage has its own set of symptoms.
- Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. It is characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed easily – especially while brushing and flossing. There may also be a bad taste in your mouth and a bad odor despite brushing or using mouthwash.
- Periodontitis is more advanced than gingivitis. During this stage, permanent damage begins to occur as the gums pull away from the teeth, forming pockets where plaque, tartar, and bacteria can thrive out of reach from your toothbrush. The bacteria can damage the bone and soft tissue around the teeth and causes the gum tissue to retreat more, leading to deeper pockets. You may notice severe gum recession and loose teeth at this stage.
- Advanced periodontitis is the most serious stage of gum disease. The gums, bone, and soft tissue have all undergone significant damage by this point. You may experience tooth loss and pus forming in gum tissue pockets.
If you have any of these symptoms, please visit our office. Early diagnosis and treatment are important for preserving your teeth and gums.
Treatment for gingivitis may include recommendations for particular home hygienic tools and specially formulated toothpaste; we may also provide education and resources to ensure you are brushing and flossing properly. If you have a more advanced stage of the condition, we may recommend our scaling and root planing procedure.
Scaling & Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is a dental procedure that is used to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth, both above and below the gum line. The scaling portion of the procedure involves using a scaler to remove plaque and tartar from the tooth surfaces. As the plaque and tartar are removed from the gum pockets, this gives the gum tissue an opportunity to reattach to the freshly cleaned tooth surface.
Root planing is the process of smoothing out the root surfaces of the teeth. During this process, the bone is resurfaced where the disease has caused damage. By polishing the surface of the roots and providing ample opportunity for the gums to heal and reattach, plaque and tartar will be less likely to accumulate in these regions again in the future, reducing the likelihood of disease progression.