Your gums are an important piece of your dental health. Unhealthy gums can lead to tooth problems, and they can also be an indicator of more serious health conditions. The Stephens City, VA dental team at Gentle Family Dentistry can help you get your gums back to good health and give you the tools to keep them that way.
The health of your gums can be directly linked to poor overall health. The bacteria that causes gum disease can move from the periodontal pockets surrounding your teeth directly into your bloodstream. This can lead to inflammation, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and more.
Causes & Symptoms Of Gum Disease
Gum disease can be caused by a number of different factors that range from genetics to poor hygiene to your daily habits. You can help keep your gums healthy by properly brushing and flossing twice daily, and not smoking or using chewing tobacco. Other risk factors, such as hormonal changes, medications that cause dry mouth, and decreased immunity due to a variety of conditions should be discussed with your dentist. Once we know about your risk factors, we know to keep a closer eye on your gum health.
You can also keep watch over your gum health at home. Symptoms of gum disease include:
- Plaque buildup
- Swollen, tender gums
- Discoloration of gums
- Gums that bleed easily
- Bad breath
- Pain when chewing
- Development of new spaces between teeth, or teeth that suddenly feel loose
- Receding gums that make your teeth appear longer
- Change in bite
If you’ve noticed any of these symptoms, please call our office to schedule a consultation. Our team of professionals can assess your teeth and gums and determine the best treatment for you.
Gum Disease Stages
Like most diseases, there are stages of gum disease. When caught early, we can treat with minimally invasive options. However, as it progresses, the treatment options change as well.
This early stage of gum disease affects only the gum tissue. At home, you’ll notice gums that are tender and swollen. You might even notice that your gums bleed when you brush or floss. Symptoms of gingivitis are often very mild and may go completely unnoticed unless caught by a dental professional. .
Once gum disease progresses beyond gingivitis, it is known as periodontitis. This stage affects the gum tissue as well as the bone structure supporting your teeth. Periodontitis can range from mild to severe, with stages defined by the depth of the periodontal pockets, or space around the teeth. As pockets deepen,plaque builds up and bone is lost. This leaves teeth loose and susceptible to infection.
- Advanced Periodontitis
The final stage of gum disease, advanced periodontitis is characterized by loose teeth, shifting teeth and even tooth loss. As gums and bone further recede, there is little to support the teeth, often leading to tooth loss and a change in bite and facial appearance.
Gum Disease Treatment Options
Whether you have mild gingivitis or advanced periodontitis, our team can help treat your gum disease and get your mouth healthy once again.
Our office offers the following options for gum disease treatment:
- Professional deep cleanings, which can remove the plaque buildup and help heal the inflammation in the gums.
- Scaling and root planing, which involves cleaning all the way down into the periodontal pockets (scaling) and smoothing the root so gum tissue can reattach over time and close up the pockets around the teeth.
- Medications to help with inflammation and discomfort, as well as antibiotics for any infection that may be found.
- Periodontal surgery to clean the gums and reattach them. This is always a last-resort option for our team, but the only solution for those with periodontitis or advanced periodontitis.
At Gentle Family Dentistry, we provide a variety of services to help keep your gums healthy. Whether you need a deep cleaning or more intensive treatment for gum disease, we will help determine the best treatment plan for you. Call our office today to learn more and schedule an appointment with one of our dental professionals.