End the Pain of Infected Gums with Periodontal Therapy
You’ve always taken great care of your teeth, so when your gums suddenly become sore and swollen you might be wondering what you did wrong. Next you start seeing blood on your dental floss. I floss pretty regularly, you think, so how could this happen? What is wrong with my gums?
Swollen, sore gums; blood in the sink after you brush and floss; a bad taste in your mouth; pain in the roots of your teeth—these are all signs of gum disease.
The truth is that half of Americans suffer from a form of gum disease, and it can strike anyone at any age. Changing hormones can trigger the condition, as can new medications and even brief intervals of infrequent flossing. The good news is that periodontal treatments can help bring your symptoms under control.
About Gum Disease
Gum disease, also called periodontitis, develops when bacteria linger under the gum line and aren’t removed promptly by flossing and other measures. When plaque is allowed to remain in these periodontal pockets, it can harden into calculus (tartar), which gives bacteria an attractive food source. As more bacteria grow in these spaces, their acidic excretions slowly damage (and kill) healthy gum tissue, and the pockets grow larger. These bacterial acids can also cause cavities in tooth roots, which can compromise the health of a tooth.
Given enough time, gum disease can destroy gum tissue and damage teeth to the point that they are no longer stable in the mouth. Think of a tree with root soil that has been eroded by weather damage; without enough soil to hold the roots in place, the tree cannot stand. This is why gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in America.
Common symptoms of gum disease include:
- A bad taste in the mouth
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
- A feeling of looseness in the teeth
- Bleeding gums when you brush or floss
- Sore, swollen gums
- Red colored gums (healthy gums are pink)
While gum disease can affect anyone, risk factors include poor oral hygiene, irregular flossing, using tobacco products, and excessive alcohol consumption.
What A Gum Disease Diagnosis Means
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with gum disease, take it as a good thing. Gum disease is often referred to as a silent disease because it can develop and progress with no noticeable symptoms whatsoever. If you know you have it, you can put energy into fighting it and manage the symptoms that may lead to tooth loss.
Gum disease is not curable, but it is manageable. Periodontal therapy can reduce the amounts of bacteria colonizing your gingival tissue and thus minimize tissue damage. With regular visits to Heritage Family Dentistry we can also make sure any related signs of tooth decay are detected and treated promptly.
How We Can Help
There are several treatments to address the signs of gum disease, both routine and surgical.
Deep Cleaning: Also called scaling and planing, this treatment is similar to a dental cleaning, but goes deeper into the gum tissue to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria. The periodontal pockets are cleaned and the tooth roots are smoothed to give bacteria fewer small places to hide. This treatment is performed with a local anesthetic to prevent any sensitivity, but may leave you with tender gums for few days.
Medications: Antibiotics may sometimes be prescribed in an attempt to combat bacterial infection on several fronts.
Prescription Rinses: In addition to careful brushing and flossing, antiseptic rinses can help reduce day-to-day bacteria levels in the mouth.
Flap Surgery: This surgical procedure is used when scaling and planing do not adequately remove enough bacteria from the gingival tissues. During the procedure, the gums are surgically pulled back to allow better access to the tooth roots. Afterwards, they are secured with sutures and will require time to heal from the procedure.
Gum Graft Surgery: If too much gum tissue has been destroyed, gum grafting can be used to replace the missing tissue and protect the roots of the teeth from bacteria and exposure.
Take Control of Your Symptoms
Whether you have a positive diagnosis, or simply suspect you may have gum disease, visit Dr. Preston Hamrick at Heritage Family Dentistry, and we’ll help you get your gums back to a good state of health. We want you to be able to keep your teeth for life; periodontal therapy can help you accomplish this goal.
Call our Greenville, SC dental office at (684) 292- 5125 to learn more about periodontal treatments and make an appointment with Dr. Hamrick.