Periodontal (gum) health has a great deal to do with the health and appearance of your teeth and also determines how long your teeth will last.
Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth. It develops just below the gum line where it causes the breakdown of the supporting tissues. As the tissues are damaged, they develop pockets of infection. Generally, the more severe the disease, the greater the depth of the pocket, and the more bacteria in it.
Gum disease is a vicious cycle: As the bacteria excrete toxins and cause inflammation, the gum tissue recedes from the teeth, creating more room for more bacteria, which excrete even more toxins, and so on.
Two Major Stages of Severity:
- Gingivitis: A milder and reversible form of periodontal disease that only affects the gums, and
- Periodontitis: A more serious and further advanced case of gingivitis, which can extend into the bone.
Risk Factors for Developing Periodontal Disease:
- Tobacco smoking or chewing
- Systemic diseases such as diabetes
- Some types of medications such as steroids, some anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, calcium channel blockers, and oral contraceptives
- Bridges that no longer fit properly
- Crooked teeth
- Defective fillings
These may indicate a problem and require you to see a dentist:
- Gums that bleed easily
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from teeth
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste in your mouth
- Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
- Any changes in your bite
- Any changes in the fit of your partial dentures
Treatment methods depend on the type of gum disease and how far it has progressed. The main goal is to control the infection, but the overall success of the treatment plan depends on:
- Severity of the disease
- Ability to maintain oral hygiene at home
- Reducing your risk factors
Once your dental evaluation is complete, Dr. Warr will discuss some of the following treatment plans with you:
- Deep cleaning to remove plaque through a method called scaling and root planing. Scaling removes the tartar from above and below the gum line and planing gets rid of rough spots on the tooth where bacteria gather.
- Use of medications such as antibiotics and enzyme suppressants, in addition to scaling and planning.
- Surgery, if the inflammation and deep pockets remain after initial treatments:
- Flap Surgery: Removes tartar deposits in the deep pockets to make it easier to keep the area clean.
- Bone & Tissue Grafts: May be necessary to encourage new growth of bone or gum tissue that has been destroyed by the disease.
Discuss your gum health and treatment options by calling 801-355-5385 today. Warr Dental serves patients throughout the Salt Lake City area, including Draper, West Valley City and more.