Periodontal disease is a constantly progressing disease that can lead to tooth loss if not treated. It is a silent disease meaning you cannot always see it. It is caused by plaque, a film of bacteria which forms on your teeth every day. The plaqua causes irritation of the gums in turn causing the body’s immune system to respond by trying to protect your gums from this irritant. This produces excess gum tissue and bone known as “proud flesh” that begins to pull on your teeth. At Periodontal Associates of Memphis, we treat gum disease with both surgical and non-surgical periodontal therapy which may include:
- Root planing, and
- Site maintenance.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontitis, is any inflammatory condition that affects the soft tissue (gums) and bone surrounding your teeth. Most commonly, gum disease is caused by plaque buildup which produces toxins and irritants which damage the gums. When bacteria gets into the gums, it turns into plaque. Plaque can irritate the gums and lead to redness, pain, and even eventual tooth loss. Gum disease will progress through 4 stages, each becoming more advanced and detrimental to the underlying bone structure. Gum tissue may recede in these areas, allowing bacteria to invade the roots of the teeth and cause further damage. The only way to reverse gum disease is by removing infected tissue. In cases where there is not sufficient bone supporting a tooth, an extraction may be necessary. Below is a list of the stages of gum disease:
- Early periodontitis
- Advanced periodontitis
- Irreversible periodontitis
Gum disease can be hard to notice because it often progresses slowly. It may not cause any symptoms, especially in its early stage. When you show signs of gum disease, we want to catch the infection before it becomes serious. That is where our team of experts come into play. We provide different types of periodontal services to help prevent and reverse gum disease.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky substance that builds up on your teeth. When left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss and other serious problems. Plaque is made up of bacteria and other substances that cling to your teeth and gums. As the plaque forms, it creates a sticky film that traps food particles in between your teeth and gums. Over time, this can cause the gums to become inflamed and swollen causing serious oral damage—a condition known as gingivitis.
If you have gum disease, you may notice:
- Redness or swelling of your gums around your teeth.
- Puffy or firm lumps on the side of your cheek near where your wisdom teeth grow in (this is called pericoronitis).
- Feeling that something is stuck in between your teeth when you bite down.
- Gum tissue that feels soft or spongy.
Gum disease is a serious condition that can cause tooth loss if it is left untreated. When you come in to Periodontal Associates of Memphis, our team of skilled periodontists will evaluate your oral health and recommend the best treatment options for you.
How Does Gum Disease Affect Your Oral Health?
If not treated, gum disease can cause tooth loss. As the name suggests, gum disease affects your gums, but also your entire mouth. It starts with plaque—a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth every time you eat or drink anything. If you do not remove these bacteria by brushing and flossing regularly, it can harden into tartar. The tartar then irritates the gum tissue and causes it to become inflamed and swollen.
If you have gum disease, your gums may be red, swollen, or tender to the touch, and they may bleed easily when you brush or floss. They may also feel spongy or loose when you push against them with your tongue. If you have severe gum disease, you may also notice that your teeth look longer than they used to be because the bone supporting them has been eaten away by bacteria.
Prevention and Treatment of Gum Disease
Gum disease is a problem that can be prevented and treated. At Periodontal Associates of Memphis, we know how important it is for you to maintain great oral health. That is why we are dedicated to providing high-quality periodontal care for our patients in Memphis and the surrounding areas.
Here at Periodontal Associates of Memphis, we believe that prevention is better than cure. That is why we always recommend to our patients that they take a proactive stance against gum disease by practicing good oral hygiene and visiting their dentist regularly. In addition to this, there are other steps you can take to protect yourself and loved ones from gum disease, which include:
- Brush your teeth after every meal with a soft toothbrush and fluoride-containing toothpaste.
- Floss at least once a day, taking care not to pull too hard.
- Rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking something acidic or sugary.
- Visit your dentist regularly so they can monitor any changes in your oral health, as well as performing regular dental checkups
Treatments will vary based on the severity of your gum disease. If you have severe gum disease or are at risk for losing teeth due to gum disease, we may recommend removing some or all of your teeth with surgery. You may also need to have a tooth or teeth removed in order to prevent further damage from occurring.
Our treatment services for gum disease includes:
- Root planning
- Surgical treatment
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Gum Disease.
Here are most frequently asked questions about gum disease.
- What are the symptoms of gum disease?
There are several signs that you might have gum disease: bleeding when you brush or floss; tenderness when you chew; loose teeth; bad breath (a sign of an advanced case).
- How do I know if I have gum disease?
The first signs of gum disease include bleeding when brushing or flossing, tenderness when chewing, and bad breath (halitosis). If these symptoms are present in combination with other symptoms like swelling or pain in the gums and loose teeth, then it’s time to see an experienced periodontist.
- How long does it take to treat gum disease?
The length of treatment depends on the severity of your condition. In most cases, our periodontal specialists will recommend a comprehensive periodontal evaluation. This allows us to determine the best course of treatment for you.
To learn more about our periodontal services contact us today to schedule an appointment!