The earlier you can treat gum disease, the better the outcome will be for your long term dental health. In its earliest stages, periodontal disease can be treated and reversed but when it progresses it can cause severe and irreparable damage to your teeth and gums. Let’s take a closer look at how to treat gum disease before it is too late.
What Is Gum Disease?
Essentially gum disease or gingivitis is an infection of the soft tissue or gum that surrounds your teeth. It is fairly common, with as many as three out of ten Australians suffering from moderate to severe cases of the disease. When left untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss.
In its earliest stages, periodontal disease may present as swollen, sore or bleeding gums. Bleeding may occur when brushing or flossing and you may experience bad breath.
When gum disease is not treated and left to progress, it develops into a more severe form of periodontal disease called periodontitis, which affects the soft tissue that is attached to your teeth. Over time, spaces or pockets may develop between your tooth and gum. These pockets can trap even more bacteria, worsening the infection. Periodontitis can spread to the bone below the gum, resulting in bone loss and causing teeth to drift, loosen or fall out.
What Are The Most Common Signs Of Gum Disease?
It’s very common for periodontal disease to present without any symptoms. The best way to monitor your gum health is to visit your dentist twice a year. Your dentist is well trained to spot the early signs of gum disease.
Even so in some patients, the following symptoms may present:
- Red or swollen gums
- Gums that bleed easily
- Persistent bad breath
- A persistent bad taste in your mouth
- Tooth sensitivity
- Loosening teeth
How To Treat Gum Disease?
When it is in its earliest stages periodontal disease can be managed with good dental hygiene. If your gums feel sore or sensitive, you should continue to brush them gently in order to keep the area clean. If the swelling does not improve in a few days, you should consult your dental practitioner.
If your periodontal disease is more advanced your dentist will take x rays to assess the extent of the infection. Your treatment plan will depend on how severe your infection is. Your dental practitioner will likely clean your teeth using special instrumentation, going below the gum line to remove all plaque traces. In some cases, it may be necessary to scrape the tooth roots and straighten them out in a process called scaling and planing. Straightening and smoothing the tooth roots can help to prevent them from trapping more bacteria and developing gum disease later on.
In some cases, antibiotic treatment may be required to help the infection heal.
Of course, prevention of periodontal disease is always better than cure and in addition to twice-daily brushing and flossing, you must visit your dentist twice a year for a dental cleaning and a check-up on your gum health.
For professional help with how to treat gum disease, please call us for an appointment: (03) 5749 1208.