Periodontal disease affects more than 75% of the American population, yet most people don’t even realize it. The disease starts with inflammation of the gum tissue that, if left untreated, progresses to the bone surrounding your teeth.
Signs of Gum Disease
One of the reasons why gum disease goes unnoticed is because it’s virtually painless. This can cause people to ignore other signs of the disease and delay treatment. Some of the symptoms to watch out for include:
- Red, tender, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Receding gums – gums pulling away and uncovering the tooth root
- Persistent bad breath/taste in your mouth
- Visible pus around the gums
- Loose teeth
Gum Disease Diagnosis
If you notice any of the symptoms above, in addition to face swelling, chills, fever, and sweats, you should consider getting emergency dental treatment. The dentist will perform a periodontal exam that may involve:
• Using a probe to measure the depth of gum pockets situated between your teeth and gums
• Taking special X-ray films to assess the condition of your teeth, supporting bone, and other surrounding tissues
• Recommendations to treat the gum disease depending on its stage and effects
Gum Disease Treatment
Periodontal disease treatment varies depending on its severity. Before any treatment, your dentist will perform routine professional cleaning, and if necessary, proceed to a deep cleaning technique known as scaling and root planing to scrape off plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line, periodontal pockets, and rough spots on the tooth. Some medicines may also be necessary to eliminate any pain and treat the infection.
For advanced gum disease, surgical treatments such as laser gum therapy, pocket reduction surgery, and tissue grafting, may be necessary. Depending on your case, you may also consider tooth replacement options such as dental implants.
Gum disease is a chronic disease, meaning that you need a personalized, ongoing gum health program designed with consideration of your specific risk factors for periodontal disease in order to prevent it from recurring.