Periodontitis, also known as gum disease, is a very common oral health issue and one of the main causes of tooth loss. According to the CDC, nearly half of adults in the United States show signs of this condition. Among the challenges that patients face, gum disease is one of the more sneaky problems that can wreak havoc on your dental health. Understanding the causes can serve as a key strategy in its prevention. Patients can effectively halt the progression of gum disease by learning to recognize its signs, understanding its development, and being aware of its impact on oral health. At the Aesthetic Associates Centre, we help thwart gum disease progression and its symptoms and offer restorative solutions if it progresses.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is an infection of the tissues surrounding your teeth. The first phase of gum disease, known as gingivitis, can be recognized for the telltale signs of gum inflammation. At this stage, you may notice symptoms like redness, swelling, and tenderness of the gums. Your gums may also bleed when you brush or floss.
Gingivitis primarily impacts the area around the gumline. As the infection progresses, it creates pockets between the gums and teeth, forming spaces where bacteria can accumulate and thrive.
If left untreated, it can pave the way for advanced gum disease, also known as periodontitis. This more severe stage occurs from the spread of bacteria that harms the tissues beneath the gums. As a result, the bone supporting the teeth weakens, potentially leading to tooth roots becoming more sensitive. Spaces form between the teeth, which can cause them to become loose and fall out.
Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease
The key to preventing gum disease starts with proper oral hygiene. Regular brushing and flossing can help keep these infections from developing. Some individuals have a genetic predisposition to periodontal disease, making diligent oral care and regular dental checkups even more crucial to maintaining oral health. Other causes of gum disease include smoking, certain medications and medical conditions, and misaligned teeth.
There are several symptoms of gum disease, including:
- Bad breath
- Swollen or bleeding gums
- Pain or discomfort while chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Gums that have receded from the teeth
It’s a common misconception that gum disease doesn’t affect those with dentures since natural teeth have been removed. However, not only is gum disease possible for denture wearers, but it can make detecting gum disease more challenging. While denture wearers might not experience symptoms like loose teeth or tooth loss, they can still face issues such as bone loss, gum recession, or swelling. Identifying these signs, even when they are subtle, is important for maintaining oral health, even in denture users.
Treating Gum Disease
The main aim of treating periodontal disease is to clear the infection by thoroughly cleaning the pockets and protecting the surrounding tissue and bone. Non-surgical methods involve antibiotics and deep cleanings called “scaling and root planing.” Scaling removes bacteria and tartar from the tooth surface and gum pockets, while root planing smooths the tooth roots for better healing and reattachment of the gums.
In advanced stages, surgery might be necessary to address severe periodontitis. Flap surgery, or pocket reduction surgery, involves cutting and lifting the gum away from the tooth root. This enables more thorough scaling and planing and, if needed, reshaping of the bone. After the procedure, we will stitch the gums back into position.
These measures prevent the infection from spreading and causing tooth loss. However, if a tooth must be removed, we provide restoration options to help you regain your oral health.
Your Restoration Options at Aesthetic Associates Centre
If the disease progresses and teeth cannot be saved, we can swiftly replace them with mini dental implants. These implants, measuring less than 3 millimeters in diameter, are much smaller than conventional implants used to replace missing teeth. Due to their slender form, they can often be placed in a single visit.
To place the implant, we drill a small into the jawbone and then screw the threaded end of the post into the hole. A single crown or an implant bridge can be attached using a ball and socket joint. Either way, a restoration is placed right after implantation to ensure you have a complete set of teeth without any gaps. Because we have a dental lab on our campus, you won’t have to wait long for your final restoration to be complete.
Placing a mini implant is non-surgical and minimally invasive. Our patients typically experience only minimal discomfort and resume daily activities within 48 hours of the procedure.
Schedule Your Dental Checkup Today
If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease, contact the Aesthetic Associates Centre today. Our team is led by world-renowned dentist Dr. Todd Shatkin, who has over 30 years of experience. When you come to our practice, our team will evaluate your current condition and collaborate with you to develop a customized treatment plan addressing any issues or discomfort you might be facing. Schedule your free consultation today and take the proactive step towards safeguarding your smile.