Most people are aware that gum disease exists. However, a large majority of people don’t understand how the disease progresses or how to prevent it from occurring. Nearly half of adult Americans have a gum condition diagnosed as gingivitis or periodontitis. No matter the stage, the disease is serious and can cause more grief if not treated promptly. Understanding that people are usually informed about something and not how it functions, Dr. Stewart takes the time to explain periodontal disease symptoms and treatments.
In The Beginning…
Gum disease doesn’t appear out of a false top hat like a rabbit does at a magic show. Instead, the presence of bacteria in your mouth is a slow, progressive cycle. As you brush, floss, and rinse your teeth, bacteria are being held at bay from spreading and flourishing.
Although you constantly prevent the spread of microorganisms, plaque can build in areas your toothbrush or floss may not be able to reach. The bacteria thrive in that area by feeding on the sugar and refined carbohydrates of your diet, resulting in the buildup of plaque.
Plaque, if left untreated, can turn into tartar (hardened plaque), which facilitates either decay or infection. As the condition progresses, treatment becomes more demanding to reverse the effects. Unfortunately, untreated gum disease could result in sub gingival abscesses, teeth loss, and jawbone deterioration.
The following list offers some common symptoms of gum disease:
- Inflamed gums
- Bleeding gums
- Receding gums
- Visible plaque along gumline
- Tender gums
…There Were Bacteria
Depending on the presence of gum disease in the mouth, non-invasive treatment may be an option:
Scaling and Root Planing: This is also known as a deep cleaning. The doctor would gently remove the plaque from your teeth surfaces and below your gums. Then, he would smooth the root surfaces to discourage the accumulating of bacteria.
Antibiotics: A topical or oral medication may be recommended to manage the growth of bacteria in your mouth.
If your gum disease has advanced beyond the effectivity of non-invasive treatment, some of the following options may succeed in reversing the condition:
Pocket Reduction: This procedure allows for a more effective deep cleaning. The doctor will create an incision in the gingival near the infection, pulling back the gums to clean and remove the bacteria.
Soft Tissue Graft: As a major symptom of gums disease, gum recession can be replaced with the grafting of soft tissue from elsewhere in your mouth. This tissue is then used to replace the receding gumline caused by the infection.
Bone Grafting: If advanced, gum disease can affect the shape of your jawbone. In which case, the doctor will need to graft a piece of bone from elsewhere in your mouth or use a donated bone graft to replace the deteriorated jawbone.
About Dr. Stewart
James R. Stewart, Jr., D.D.S., P.C. is an experienced and respected dentist serving patients from Livonia, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Northville, Dearborn Heights, and Garden City. Patients can contact Dr. Stewart by calling (734) 425-4400 to schedule an appointment or a consultation.