How to Prevent Gum Disease
Periodontal or gum disease refers to an infection of the tissues which hold your teeth in place. In most cases, gum disease results from poor oral hygiene (not brushing or flossing regularly). Over time, built-up plaque hardens into calculus on and around your teeth and gums. When periodontal disease advances, it can result in sore, bleeding gums, and pain while you chew. If the progression of the disease isn’t treated by your dentist in Easton, PA, tooth loss can eventually occur.
Causes of Gum Disease
You probably already know that your mouth is full of bacteria. This bacteria, in combination with other materials, such as food particles and mucus, constantly form a sticky substance called plaque. Plaque is colorless, and when left long enough, it hardens into tartar.
No amount of brushing or flossing can help remover tartar. You’ll need to see a professional in order to remove it. When visiting College Hill Dental Group for a dental cleaning, your dental hygienist will scrape away all the plaque and tartar that is built up.
Dr. Cody Boals, a Colorado Springs dentist, adds that there are several risk factors that can play a part in developing gum disease. These include genetics, smoking, diabetes, hormonal changes in females, medications that cause dry mouth, and some illnesses, such as AIDS and their medications.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Periodontal (gum) disease triggers a number of symptoms, including the following:
- Persistent bad breath
- Swollen or red gums
- Bleeding or tender gums
- Pain when you chew
- Sensitive teeth
- Loose teeth
- Teeth appear longer due to gum recession
Diagnosis of Gum Disease
When you visit College Hill Dental Group, your hygienist or dentist in Easton, PA, will:
- Check your gums for any signs of inflammation
- Use a probe (a tiny ruler) to measure the gingival pockets (the gaps between your teeth and gums). In a healthy person, the gingival pockets are usually no wider than 3mm, so any pockets that exceed this size will be regarded as indicators of possible gum disease.
- Inquire about your medical history. The intention here is to establish whether there are any risk factors or conditions that could pave the way for periodontal disease to develop.
- Take x-rays to find out whether any bone loss has occurred.
- Recommend periodontal therapy. These are specialists who diagnose and treat periodontal disease. The periodontist often has treatment methods that may not be available at your general dentist’s.
Treatment Options for Gum Disease
When gum disease is caught early, your dentist in Easton, PA, may recommend only a professional cleaning and give you instructions on how to manage the condition at home. However, when the disease progresses, some of the following options may become necessary when you visit College Hill Dental Group:
- Root planing and scaling. This is a more invasive form of dental cleaning because it involves cleaning beneath your gum line. Don’t worry about the pain of this procedure; it will be performed under a local anesthetic.
- Gum surgery may also be needed to repair the damage that has been caused by gum disease. For example, your Easton, PA dentist may recommend a gingivectomy. This is a surgical procedure during which infected gum tissue is removed. Flap surgery is another option when cleaning below the gum line is necessary.
- Regenerative procedures. You may also need to undergo oral surgery at College Hill Dental Group if one of our dentists finds that you have lost a lot of bone or soft tissues to gum disease. Bone grafting or a gum graft may be the specific procedure that you undergo to trigger the regeneration of bone or soft tissues.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
It is always better to prevent gum disease instead of waiting to have it treated by your dentist in Easton. The following preventive measures can help in this regard:
- Brush your teeth two times every day using a fluoride toothpaste
- Floss daily using flossing string, a water flosser, or any other device recommended by your dentist
- Visit College Hill Dental Group regularly to have your teeth cleaned by a professional as well as to undergo dental checkups.
- Stop smoking
Gum disease can affect anyone at any time. It is best to combine at-home preventive care with regular professional care provided by your Easton, PA dentist. If you suspect that you have gum disease, contact us immediately, and we will do everything possible to treat the condition before it progresses.