Taking good care of your teeth and gums is an essential part of your overall healthcare routine. Just like when you have a cold or the flu, it’s imperative that you seek care from our dentist for bleeding, swollen gums when symptoms first arise. Gum disease can progress quickly if you don’t act fast and can cause tooth loss due to separating gum tissue and bone recession. Regular dental cleanings can reverse the early signs of gum disease, but periodontal surgery might be necessary for extreme cases of advanced periodontitis.
If you are experiencing signs of gum disease, please contact our dentist in Salt Lake City today at (801) 876-6556 to schedule your appointment. Warr Dental serves clients in the Salt Lake City, Utah area including West Valley City and Draper.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease at its core is an infection of the connective tissues that keep your teeth in place and causes your gums to bleed and swell. The infection lives under your gum line and causes those tissues to gradually break down, which can then create pockets of infection as the gum tissue recedes. The worse the gum disease, the deeper the pockets. If left untreated, the infection will worsen and may even enter your bloodstream, making you more susceptible to heart disease according to a 2014 study.
Some of the warning signs of gum disease include:
- Red, swollen, and tender gums
- Gums that bleed when brushing or flossing
- Loose gum tissue around the teeth
- Constant bad breath
- Recurrent bad taste in your mouth
- Loosening of teeth or loose teeth
- Changes in your bite and fit of partial and full dentures
Gum disease can often be prevented or improved through strict dental hygiene habits such as brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and rinsing with mouthwash (or water) after meals. There are risk factors that make you more likely to develop gum disease including smoking or chewing tobacco, diabetes and similar conditions, certain medications (steroids, oral contraceptives, cancer therapy, and epilepsy treatments), crooked teeth, and pregnancy.
Stages of Gum Disease
There are two main stages of periodontal disease: Gingivitis and Periodontitis. Gingivitis is when you first start to notice swollen, sensitive gums. The symptoms are mild and only impact the gum tissue. Periodontitis is the second stage, which is followed by advanced periodontitis that often leads to tooth loss without treatment. This second stage is severe and progressive.
The infection spreads from the gums, causing tissue degradation and can reach into the jawbone. That makes your entire mouth vulnerable. As the gum tissue pulls away from your teeth, your teeth loosen, and your jawbone begins to break down. While you may be able to combat gingivitis with rigid at-home dental hygiene habits, you’ll need gum disease treatment once it’s progressed into the second stage, which generally includes root planing and scaling to remove bacteria.
Gum disease may be categorized as:
- Gingival disease
- Necrotizing periodontal diseases
- Abscesses of the periodontium
- Developmental or acquired deformities and conditions
The purpose of periodontal therapy is to preserve the health of your natural teeth and the gum tissue around them. The right course of treatment for your gum disease depends on the current state of your teeth and gums. Changing your hygiene habits at home will help greatly, but you may need deep periodontal cleaning to remove the plaque buildup and tartar from above and below your gums. Medications may also help such as antibiotics and enzyme suppressants.
Annual dental exams are an excellent way to prevent gum disease alongside daily brushing and flossing. During these exams, you will discuss any existing complaints or conditions with our family dentist. Such an examination may also involve:
- A review of your medical and dental history.
- A clinical examination.
- A radiographic analysis of your teeth.
- Microbiologic, genetic, biochemical, or other diagnostic tests that may also be useful to assess your periodontal status.
For specific, persistent periodontal pockets, we use antibiotic treatment. In the deeper pocket areas where bacteria continue to thrive, the area is thoroughly cleaned, and an antibiotic solution is injected into the periodontal pocket. We encourage our patients to leave this area undisturbed for several days. We have been very successful in our periodontal therapy.
After your periodontal evaluation with your hygienist and dentist, Dr. Warr will suggest the treatment plan that is right for you, which may include:
- The need for a maintenance program
- Removal of plaque using planing techniques
- Periodontal regenerative procedures such as soft tissue grafts
- Periodontal reconstructive procedures, such as implant site development
- Periodontal reconstructive surgery for soft tissue defects
- Restorative or prosthetic treatment options such as placement of new crowns
- Tooth extraction
- The new placement of dental implants
Schedule Your Dental Exam in Salt Lake City
Schedule your appointment at Warr Dental today by calling (801) 876-6556. Our family and cosmetic dentist serves patients in surrounding Salt Lake City areas including West Valley City, and Draper, Utah.