What is gum disease or infection?
Gum disease or infection is also known as gingivitis — it’s the inflammation of the gum tissues due to bacterial infections. Without gum treatment, the infection continues spreading until you experience periodontitis. According to the American Dental Association, Gingivitis and periodontitis (the two stages of gum infection) are the leading causes of tooth loss in adults. As such, gum treatment is crucial if you have signs of gum disease.
What causes gum disease or periodontitis?
The gums attach to the teeth in an area with a small pocket of space called a sulcus. Over time, food and plaque can accumulate in the sulcus, increasing bacterial colonization in the area. As plaque hardens, it turns into a substance called tartar, impossible to remove with brushing and flossing. If you don’t go for regular dental cleanings, the plaque and tartar may persist and spread in the sulcus, making your gums separate from the teeth. Over time, the tooth loosens, and you experience infections in the surrounding soft tissues.
What are the risk factors for a gum infection?
- Chewing tobacco
- Oral contraceptives, steroids, chemotherapy, and other medications
- Crowded teeth
- Crooked teeth
- Ill-fitting dental appliances
- Broken dental fillings
- Genetic predisposition
What are the main signs of gum disease?
- Red, tender, or swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Gums that pull away from your teeth
- Loose or unstable teeth
- Poor bite
- Pus formation in your gums
- Painful sensations while chewing
- Teeth sensitivity
- Halitosis, i.e., persistently bad breath
How do you diagnose gum disease?
The dentist will probe your gums with a small ruler during the dental examination, checking for inflammation. The ruler will also measure the pockets of space between your gums and teeth. In healthy gums, the space shouldn’t be any more than 3 millimeters. If the space is more than that, the dentist will take x-rays to check the surrounding tissues for damage. You should also let the dentist know if you have any of the risk factors for gum disease.
Is reversing gum disease possible?
Reversing gum disease is possible if you have gingivitis, i.e., at the earliest stages. Early intervention and gum treatment can reverse gum disease by removing the accumulated plaque and tartar between your teeth and gum line. However, advanced gum disease (periodontitis) can’t be reversed, only slowed down. As such, early gum treatment is crucial.
How to treat gingivitis?
The best way to treat gingivitis is to practice optimal oral health and stop smoking. Beyond those measures, gum treatment may include periodontal cleaning, antibiotic medications, or laser gum cleaning.
Periodontal cleaning refers to techniques that deep clean your teeth without surgeries or invasive methods. The dentist uses a scalar device to remove all the accumulated plaque and tartar from your teeth and gums. Next, they use a method called root planing to smoothen the rough spots of your dental roots to facilitate the healing of the gum tissues. Over time, the gums will heal and tighten around your teeth, holding them firmly in place.
Laser Gum Cleaning
Laser gum cleaning is a procedure that uses light energy to break the plaque and tartar from your teeth and gum line. The laser gum cleaning process is a lot easier than periodontal cleaning with traditional methods because you experience less swelling, bleeding, discomfort, and a quicker recovery. Laser gum cleaning also minimizes the risk of bleeding.
The dentist may provide numerous medications to treat gum disease, including an antiseptic mouthwash containing chlorhexidine, antiseptic chips containing chlorhexidine, oral antibiotics, etc. These medications address the bacterial infection.
In severe cases, you might need surgical methods to treat gum disease. Flap surgery is a procedure wherein the gums are lifted back to remove the plaque and tartar from the deep pockets and then sutured back to fit around your teeth.
Can laser help treat my gum disease?
Yes, a laser can help treat your gum disease. The following are the benefits of laser gum treatment:
- No need to cut your gum tissues.
- No sutures.
- Minimal pain and discomfort during or after the procedure.
- Quick, in-office procedures.
- Better and longer-lasting results.
- Minimal dietary restrictions involved.
- The gums recover within 24 hours.
- Safe and suitable for all patients.
Will my insurance cover gum treatment?
Generally speaking, most insurance plans cover gum treatment, including x-rays, debridements, periodontal cleaning, etc. However, the amount of coverage you receive and the specific benefits will depend on your insurance plan. Your dental clinic should handle the insurance coverage details and provide a detailed overview of your out-of-pocket costs before the treatment.
How can you prevent gum disease?
You must prevent gum disease instead of opting for gum treatment later. Proper oral hygiene and regular dental cleanings help you maintain optimal health and prevent gum disease. The following are the steps to ensure you never experience gum infection:
- Brush twice a day using fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss your teeth every day to remove all the food particles.
- Rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash.
- Go for regular dental cleanings at least twice a year to remove the accumulated plaque and tartar.
- Opt for orthodontic treatments if you have misaligned or crooked teeth.
Schedule your gum treatment today.
Nottingham Dental helps you and your family maintain optimal oral health, so you don’t ever need gum treatment. We run careful diagnostic tests to determine if you have early signs of gum disease and use the least invasive methods for your treatment. Our dental clinic is located at 20501 Katy Fwy #104, Katy — you may schedule an appointment online or call us at (281) 578-0211.