When you go to the dentist, you likely fear being told that you have a cavity or two. You don’t think about the possibility of having gum disease.
Gum disease, while it is common, can become a serious oral health issue if it isn’t promptly diagnosed and properly treated.
When you go visit the dentist for a routine exam and cleaning, we’ll check for gum disease. Some of the procedures you may expect include: using a probe to measure the “pockets” of your gums, take X-rays of your mouth and ask about your medical history to identify risk factors.
If your dentist discovers that you have gum disease, it is probably gingivitis. This common, low-level for of gum disease can be easily treated and the damage can be reversed with simple methods such as improving one’s at-home oral hygiene routine.
If you ignore your gingivitis, it can progress into the serious periodontitis. This high-level form of gum disease can have significant, negative impacts on one’s oral health and the damage is irreversible. It is not easily treated like gingivitis is. Periodontal disease can result in lost teeth and/or a weakening and damaging of the jaw bone.
However, you can get an idea of whether or not you have gum disease before visiting the dentist. Here are some telltale signs to look out for:
- Bad breath that won’t go away
- A bad taste in the mouth
- Bright red, swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums that bleed very easily
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums that look like they are pulling away from the teeth or teeth that appear long
- White spots on the gums
- Pus between gums or teeth
- Change in the way the teeth fit together in the mouth or spaces opening between teeth
- Change in the way partial dentures fit
This list isn’t a comprehensive list, but lists the most common symptoms. Patients can have gum disease without experiencing any symptoms, making it important to make regular appointments with our dental office.
Gum Disease Treatment
If you and our dentist find that you do indeed have gum disease, quick treatment is necessary to keep it from getting worse. There are numerous treatment options available that aim at controlling the progress of gum disease.
The best course of treatment we’ll recommend will be determined on how severe your gum disease is. Sometimes treatment can be something such as quitting smoking or bettering your at-home oral hygiene routine. If you have periodontitis, the treatment is more involved and custom to each patient.
Regardless of the treatment our dentist recommends, proper, at-home oral hygiene is essential in keeping one’s gum disease manageable.
Regular deep cleaning done at the dentist office, combined with proper at-home oral hygiene is often the best way to stem gum disease.
If, however, one’s gum disease develops into periodontal disease, more extreme treatment may be necessary. Deep scaling and root planing are common periodontal disease treatment procedures. Other more, extensive treatment options include “flap surgery,” pocket reduction surgery, tissue grafts and laser therapy and localized antibiotics.
While cavities are bad for your oral health, gum disease can be as equally devastating and should be taken seriously. You may have gum disease and not know it, making it important to see us at least every six months.
The longer you ignore your gum disease, the worse it gets and the harder and more expensive it gets to treat.
If it has been more than six months since your last dental exam and cleaning contact LêDowns Dentistry, your Denver CO dentist, today to schedule an appointment. You can now book your new patient exam or cleaning appointment online at ledownsdentistry.com. We look forward to hearing from you and to help you keep your teeth for a lifetime.