Gum disease, which is also called periodontal disease, refers to the infection and inflammation of your gum tissue, caused by poor oral hygiene. When you do not brush and floss properly, oral bacteria and plaque can build up between your teeth and gum line. Then, over time, this hardens into tartar (calculus). The bacteria in tartar attacks your gums, causing issues like swelling and tenderness of the gums.
The best way to prevent gum disease is to brush properly, 2-3 times a day for at least 2 minutes, and floss once per day. You should also see Dr. Packard for an oral exam and teeth cleaning every six months to remove plaque from your teeth and gums and ensure your mouth is healthy.
The signs and symptoms of gum disease vary somewhat based on the patient and the progression of the disease. Gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease, is reversible with proper care, and will not cause permanent damage to your mouth. Symptoms of gingivitis include redness and swelling in the gums, bleeding and tenderness when brushing, itchy gums, and bad breath (halitosis.)
If your gum disease progresses further, it’s usually called “periodontitis.” Proper treatment is essential to halt the progression of periodontitis and preserve your teeth. You may notice symptoms like the shifting of your teeth, teeth that feel loose in their sockets, gum recession, or a foul taste in your mouth. Without treatment, your gums and teeth will be permanently damaged and may even need to be extracted.
If you notice any of the above signs or symptoms, contact Dr. Packard at Precision Dental right away for a consultation in Bowling Green, and seek appropriate treatment.
A deep cleaning, or “scaling and root planing”, is usually the first procedure used to treat gum disease. Dr. Packard will use special dental tools to remove plaque from between your teeth and gums, and from the roots of your teeth to eliminate most of the bacteria in your mouth. Oral antibiotics and rinses may also be used to help destroy the bacteria that cause gum disease.
More serious cases of gum disease may also require gum flap surgery or gum and bone grafts to restore damaged tissue. In extreme cases, the best treatment method may be to extract all of the affected teeth and replace them with a set of full-arch dentures.