Gum disease, or periodontal disease, can be caused by long-term exposure to plaque, the sticky but colorless film on teeth that forms after eating or sleeping. Gingivitis is the medical term for early gum disease.
Periodontal disease affects approximately 75% of adults over age 30, and it’s the leading cause of tooth loss among adults.
Gum disease originates in the gums, where infections form from harmful bacteria and other materials left behind from eating. Early warning signs of gum disease include:
- Chronic bad breath.
- Tender or painful swollen gums.
- Minor bleeding after brushing or flossing.
In many cases, gingivitis can go unnoticed. An infection can eventually cause the gums to separate from the teeth, creating even greater opportunities for infection and decay. If gum disease goes untreated, more serious problems such as abscesses, bone loss, or periodontitis can occur.
Without proper preventive care and nutritional defense, the gums and supporting structures become vulnerable to bacterial invasion. Periodontal disease can also result from vitamin deficiency, certain medications, glandular disorders, and blood disorders.
Pregnancy has also been known to cause a form of gum disease. This has been linked to hormonal changes that promote plaque production.
Gum disease is one of the major causes of tooth loss in adults. It’s often avoidable, but if you develop gum disease, we can treat it in a number of ways. Learn more below!
Microscopic Plaque Evaluation
Our team is highly concerned with early diagnosis and treatment of gum disease. Without early detection, serious forms of gum disease can form. Advanced gum disease can result in irreversible damage to the teeth and gums. Gum disease can affect a patient’s whole body.
Gum disease can be prevented in a majority of cases if it’s diagnosed during early stages. The use of a phase contrast dental microscope can detect the early onset of changes within the periodontal bacteria.
The microscope has many different functions in aiding the prevention and treatment of periodontal problems, such as:
- Better inspection and evaluation of the gums in the mouth.
- Detection of micro-inflammation.
- Early detection, which can allow us to pursue non-surgical gum treatment.
- Evaluation of treatment effectiveness through monitoring the bacteria under the microscope.
- Allowing the patient to view real-time visual images of the bacteria, which can motivate you to get treatment!
- Help with customizing toothpaste and mouthwash, depending on what kind of bacteria is present in the periodontal pocket.
Evaluation with the microscope provides a quick, easy, and painless assessment of oral bacteria Using this microscope also presents immediate feedback before you leave the office.
It also allows our team to recommend appropriate remedies for a particular bacterium. By using both natural herbal remedies and conventional treatments, we are able to control existing gum disease or prevent it altogether.
If your gum disease has not progressed to more serious stages, we may irrigate your gums with a bactericidal agent. These agents can include:
- Ozonated water, a naturally occurring substance.
- Tooth and gum tonics which consist of botanical antimicrobials.
- Herbal antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory gum irrigation agents.
These bactericidal agents will eliminate the harmful bacteria from your mouth and give your gums a chance to recover from the effects of gum disease.
Scaling & Root Planing
Some cases of acute periodontal (gum) disease do not respond to more conventional treatment or self-care such as flossing. These may require a kind of cleaning called scaling and root planing.
The procedure begins with the administration of a local anesthetic to reduce any discomfort. Then we use a small instrument to clean beneath your gum line to remove plaque and tartar.
Next the root surfaces on the tooth are planed and smoothed.
If treatment is effective, scaling and root planing help the gums reattach themselves to the tooth structure. However, additional measures may be needed if the periodontal pockets persist after scaling and root planing treatment.
What can happen if oral bacteria are not eliminated?
Prevention of gum disease is our top goal! If the diseased condition is left alone, the gums may become very painful and swollen, change to a red or bluish color, recede, and bleed easily. In time, tooth sockets become so eroded that teeth loosen and fall out. Due to infection, teeth may need to be extracted.
Certain types of oral bacteria can have dramatic, negative effects on the whole body. In addition to bad breath and bleeding or painful gums, you could experience inflammation.
Bacteria that invade and infect the gums and bone around the teeth are difficult to reach. Deep inside of the tooth pocket, the bacteria colonize, thrive, replicate, and find their way into the bloodstream. Harmful bacteria from untreated gum disease can promote or complicate diseases like:
- Lung infections.
- Alzheimer’s disease.
- Coronary heart disease.
- Cardiovascular disease
- Premature labor in pregnant women.
- Low birth weight for babies born to women who suffer from gum disease.
These diseases are why we place such a high value on treating gum disease as early as possible.
How can we prevent gum disease?
In order to prevent gum disease, it is important that patients adopt a good daily oral hygiene routine. Patients should also attend regular dental check-ups with our dental professionals. We can identify early signs of gum disease that may not be noticeable to patients.
You can also fight gum disease by keeping your immune system strong. You’ll need to:
- Practice good daily oral hygiene, which includes brushing teeth with natural toothpaste twice a day and using dental floss.
- Irrigate gum pockets with a water gum irrigator.
- Maintain your overall physical health and proper nutrition.
Preventing gum disease can save you from both pain and extensive treatments later. We are happy to help you evaluate your oral hygiene routines to save you from gum disease.
Schedule Your Next Examination.
If you don’t have an upcoming exam with Tabor Dental Associates, schedule one today. Any time is a good time to prevent gum disease, and examinations are especially important if you are experiencing any dental or gum pain.
Let us make you more comfortable and give you peace of mind about your gum health!