Periodontal disease — also known as gum disease — is an inflammatory condition that affects both the soft and hard structures that support the teeth. The disease is caused by the plaque on your teeth, which contains bacteria that product harmful toxins that can irritate and inflame the gums.
Inflamed gum tissue can pull away from the teeth and form spaces called pockets, which collect more bacteria. Infected pockets that are not treated can damage the bone and other tissue that supports the teeth, and eventually the teeth may fall out or need to be removed. A periodontal infection can also spread throughout the entire body, creating disease in another organ or body part, and it has been shown to have an impact on systemic inflammation. Research indicates that gum disease may contribute to diabetes, respiratory disease, heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and it may be associated with premature child birth.
Symptoms of gum disease include:
- Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Loose or separating teeth
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bit
- A change in the fit of partial dentures
There are two types of periodontal disease: gingivitis, which is the milder form, and periodontitis, the more advanced form.
- Gingivitis makes the gums red and swollen, and they may bleed easily when you brush. Gingivitis can be reversed with better dental care at home (brushing and flossing) and more frequent professional cleanings.
- Periodontitis is the more advanced form of gum disease. It results in more swelling and redness in the tissues around the teeth, and it causes the tissue and bone to break down.
To determine the extent of gum disease, the dentists at Enlighten Dental Care will evaluate the depth of space between the teeth and gums. In addition, we will take X-rays are taken to see whether the bone has been damaged. Depending on how much damage and disease progression there is, treatment may include:
- more frequent visits to a dental hygienist
- a procedure called scaling and root planing in which the plaque and tarter is carefully removed down to the bottom of each periodontal pocket the tooth’s root surfaces are smoothed to allow the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the tooth
- gum surgery
We may also prescribe antibiotics to control infection.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of gum disease, please make an appointment with the dentists at Enlighten Dental Care by calling (336) 765-0904, or click here to get in touch.