Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
Have you ever experienced the unique pain of swollen, red, or sore gums? Do your gums bleed when you brush or floss your teeth? Have you noticed your gums pulling back away from the teeth, to reveal the edges of your tooth roots? If so, you may be suffering from gum disease and may need periodontal treatment.
It is estimated by the American Dental Association that half of all adults over the age of 30 suffer from some degree of gum disease. This is an alarming statistic, as it means a lot of people may be at risk of losing their teeth if they do not seek out treatment. When bacteria destroy gum tissue, the teeth can become destabilized to the point that they may no longer be effective and must be extracted. Gum disease may advance slowly but it does not get better on its own. Neglecting your symptoms will only increase the odds that you may lose teeth in the future, as a result.
What a Gum Disease Diagnosis Means
If you’ve been told by your dentist that you are suffering from gum disease, this means that bacteria have colonized your gum tissue below the surface of your teeth. This can lead to the destruction of healthy gum tissue and make your teeth more likely to develop cavities below the gum line.
A gum disease diagnosis is made by measuring the depth of the pockets of space between the teeth and the gums. Even if your gum tissue does not feel swollen or red, the presence of deep periodontal pockets can indicate you are in need of periodontal treatments to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
If you have gum disease, it’s important to understand how periodontal treatments are an integral part of holding on to your teeth. Every year, gum disease robs millions of people of their natural teeth and forces them to employ the use of prosthetic teeth, via dental implants or traditional dentures. Even perfectly healthy teeth may need to be extracted if the gum tissue that supports those teeth has been damaged or destroyed by gum disease.
Unfortunately, gum disease cannot be cured, but it can be treated—to give you the best odds of holding onto your natural teeth for as long as you need them.
How Periodontal Treatments Can Help
Periodontal treatments can minimize the damage of gum disease by removing bacteria, inhibiting bacterial growth, and making bacteria less able to damage your teeth and gums.
Nonsurgical periodontal treatment includes:
- Deep Cleaning (a.k.a. Scaling and Root Planing) – This treatment consists of removing calcified plaque from the teeth below the gum line, to give bacteria less of a food source (an inhibit their growth). We also smooth the tooth roots to remove bacterial toxins and give bacteria fewer surfaces to inhabit.
- Medications, Rinses, and Tray Delivery Systems – Often used after deep cleanings, medications and rinses can be used to further inhibit bacteria from living in the gum tissue and prevent them from coming back.
Surgical treatments may be needed, in some cases:
- Pocket Reduction Surgery – This technique can be used to reduce the size and depth of the periodontal pockets that house damaging mouth bacteria. This can be a critical step in halting the advance of gum disease and preventing the teeth from becoming any further destabilized by loss of gum tissue.
- Gum Grafts – This treatment uses healthy gum tissue from another part of the mouth, usually the soft palate, to cover and protect exposed tooth roots.
- Flap Surgery – During this procedure, gum tissue is cut and folded back to allow access to the roots of a tooth and/or the jaw bone. This can be necessary when tooth roots or bone tissue have been damaged by bacteria and require surgical restoration.
Do You Have Suspected or Confirmed Gum Disease? Dr. Scott Lee Can Help!
Call Desert Family Dental to learn about periodontal treatments to reduce the symptoms of gum disease and help you prevent tooth loss. Call our Mesa AZ dental office at 480-485-7747 or request an appointment online.