Gum disease is a serious condition, which you should do your best to try to avoid. Side effects can cause tooth loss, shrinking bone, and bad breath.
In fact, the infection can get into your bloodstream and affect your heart health, too. This disease is associated with cancer of the pancreas, kidney, and blood. The infection can even enter your lungs and raise your risk of respiratory diseases like pneumonia. Studies have found it also both male and female fertility.
Stages of Gum Disease
Healthy gum tissue is tight up against the teeth, and pink or coral in color.
If it’s been a while since you’ve been to the dentist for a professional teeth cleaning, it’s likely that you’ve developed one of these stages of periodontal disease:
Gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease, is caused by plaque buildup along the gum line. During this phase, the damage done can easily be treated and reversed.
If gingivitis goes untreated, you will develop periodontitis. Once the tartar buildup enters below your gums, the infection begins to permanently break down the bone that holds your teeth in place.
- Advanced Periodontitis
Continued neglect leads to the final stage of gum disease. The jaw bone is further broken down and destroyed. Teeth become mobile and fall out.
Signs of Gum Disease
Being able to recognize the signs of gum disease will help you know when to seek help.
Gum tissue is red, swollen, and feels sore: Tartar and calculus buildup causes inflammation of the gum tissue, which makes it appear red, swollen, and feel tender.
Your gums bleed easily when you brush or floss: Bleeding while brushing and flossing is not normal! When your gums are inflamed, they bleed easily.
You have persistent bad breath: The germs, bacteria, and infection that come with gum disease cause persistent halitosis. If you notice a foul odor even after you brush, floss, and use mouthwash, you may have this condition.
Your teeth have shifted over time: Once the infection that comes with gum disease takes over, you’ll start to see changes in your teeth. The bacteria eats away at the jaw bone, which is responsible for holding the roots of your teeth in place. Bone loss causes your teeth to move and shift. Large gaps may start to develop, and/or your teeth may protrude out of your mouth at an angle.
You have loose teeth: If gum disease continues to be untreated and the bone loss spreads, eventually there won’t be enough foundation to hold your teeth steady in place. You may start to notice loose teeth. This side effect can be so uncomfortable that it may hurt you to even close your teeth together. With advances periodontitis, teeth actually fall out on their own due to the lack of bone present.
Gum Disease Treatment Options
To treat your condition, our Mesa dentist office will need to remove the calculus and tartar buildup surrounding your teeth and gums. There are different ways this is done and treatment will depend on what stage of gum disease you have.
If your disease was caught early and you only have mild gingivitis, then a thorough cleaning, known as a prophylaxis, is all you’ll need. Afterward, all you’ll need to do is brush and floss daily to get your mouth as good as new.
Scaling and Root Planing
For heavy buildup under the gums, you’ll need to undergo scaling and root planing or “deep cleaning.” During this treatment, our hygienist will use a special instrument to remove the hard deposits. The ultrasonic water scaler uses high but small bursts of pressured water along with vibrations to loosen and remove the buildup from your teeth.
When the ultrasonic water scaler won’t suffice, you may need to see a gum specialist, known as a periodontist. There, you will undergo gum surgery. This process may entail pulling your gum tissue over and thoroughly cleaning off the buildup. Occasionally the bone will need to be shaped or more grafted. Once completed, your gums will be stitched back in place.
After this treatment, you’ll need to ensure that your dental health is a top priority, so that your mouth stays healthy and your condition doesn’t relapse.
Bone is necessary for holding teeth in place. If your advanced periodontitis has caused a significant amount of bone loss, there may be no option other than to remove your teeth.
Gum Disease Treatment in Mesa, AZ
If it’s been a while since you’ve visited a Mesa dentist for a cleaning, schedule a visit with Dr. Huyn of Eastport Dental. Our Mesa team will evaluate your condition and get your smile as healthy as possible. Call today to set up an appointment!