Roughly half of all Americans are living with advanced periodontal disease, a chronic infection of the gums. In its early stages, the symptoms are minor and can be hard to miss — redness or inflammation of the gums — but left untreated, they become progressively worse and can cause considerable damage to your smile.
Luckily, it’s easy to prevent and treat gum disease when you partner with the compassionate team at 1st In Smiles. Our professionals are trained to recognize even the earliest signs of gum disease, and we’re ready to intervene with comfortable gum disease treatments that are tough on infection.
In honor of Gum Disease Awareness Month, we wanted to share some information about this condition. Read on to learn more. Then, if you’re looking for gum disease treatment in Plano, TX, call 1st In Smiles at 972-380-8105
The Signs of Gum Disease
Gum disease starts the same way that tooth decay does: with bacterial buildup. When leftover food gets stuck between your teeth, it becomes a feeding ground for all sorts of nasty bacteria. This bacteria consumes the food debris and emits a weak acid. This acid, which erodes tooth enamel, also irritates the gums.
When this happens, the gums become inflamed — which is most often the first sign of gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease. At this stage, gum disease is easily cured.
Other signs of gingivitis include:
- Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
- Swollen or tender gums
- Gums that are red in color
Committing to routine dental exams and cleanings increase the likelihood that the early signs of gum disease are detected and addressed.
Unfortunately, many people don’t notice the early signs, and the gum disease worsens to aggressive periodontitis.
At this stage, you might experience the following symptoms:
- Gumline recession
- Bad breath
- Loose or shifting teeth
- Changes in the way your teeth fit together
Prevention Starts With Regular Flossing
In addition to coming in for dental checkups every six months, there’s one thing you can do at home to prevent gum disease: floss once a day.
Flossing reduces your likelihood of gum disease because it removes food that gets stuck between teeth and along the gumline, which would otherwise attract bacteria.
When it comes to flossing, Americans aren’t great at doing it religiously. In fact, one in five adults admit they never floss! If you’re trying to incorporate it into your routine, pick a time of day that consistently works for you. It doesn’t matter whether you floss before or after meals — all that matters is that you do it!
Try setting reminders on your phone until flossing is just another part of your daily routine. You can also try flossing while you watch your favorite TV show.
Don’t like dental floss? The American Dental Association has awarded its Seal of Acceptance to a couple other interdental cleaners, such as wooden plaque removers and water picks. If you’re interested in these options, check with your dentist to make sure you’re using them properly.
Treating Gum Disease
For many people with gingivitis, a cleaning procedure is all it takes to eradicate infection.
At 1st In Smiles, we often recommend a two-part procedure called scaling and root planing to get your gum health back on track.
After thoroughly numbing your gums, we’ll remove plaque and tartar from below the gumline using special tools. Then, we’ll smooth the roots of your teeth to prevent future bacterial buildup.
Depending on the case, we sometimes pair this treatment with an antibiotic called Atridox®. This medication comes in the form of a gel, which is placed in periodontal pockets. This helps keep bacterial growth to a minimum so your gums can heal.
Repairing a Damaged Gumline
If your gum disease is particularly severe, you might have experienced significant loss of gum tissue. It can even affect your jawbone, too. When this has occurred, our first order of business is to stop the infection and clean out periodontal pockets. After that, we can take steps to repair the damage.
To restore a healthy gumline, we might recommend a gum grafting procedure. This treatment involves taking a small amount of healthy tissue and securing it over the affected area. The presence of the graft encourages regeneration of healthy gum tissue, allowing you a second chance at gum health!
Partner With 1st in Smiles for Improved Gum Health
If you suspect that gum disease has damaged your smile, it’s time to consult with the professionals at 1st In Smiles. And if it has been a while since you’ve last seen a dentist, don’t worry. We’ve committed to creating an office that’s judgment- and lecture-free! All that matters is that you want to make a positive difference in your oral health moving forward.