Periodontitis, also known as gum disease, affects the health of the teeth and gums. The early stages of gum disease can be reversed, but as the infection progresses, it can be difficult to treat. Dr. Elizabeth Duling offers periodontal disease treatment for patients in her Owens Cross Roads, AL dental office. She helps patients revitalize their oral health with restorative dental treatment.
The most common causes of gum disease are smoking, tobacco use, certain medications, and improper oral hygiene. Keeping on top of your dental health helps ensure that gum disease does not worsen over time. Periodontitis begins when harmful bacteria build up and form plaque on and around the gums. Plaque can irritate and inflame the gums, ultimately leading to painful symptoms.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Gum disease can manifest through multiple symptoms:
- Swollen gums
- Gum recession
- Bad breath
- Bleeding gums
- Gum irritation
- Mouth sores
- Loose teeth
Please contact our office if you have noticed mild to moderate symptoms of gingivitis or periodontitis. Our goal is to help our patients through in-office care or referrals to trusted specialists.
The Stages of Gum Disease
If you have healthy gums, they should be firm and pink in color. The following are the different stages of gum disease and what you can expect to see if you have them.
Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease, caused by plaque buildup at the gumline. This stage is easy to miss because many of its symptoms of it are painless. Bleeding gums or redder, puffier gums are the signs you may notice. Stepping up your oral hygiene can help reverse this stage. Antibacterial rinses may also be recommended.
Slight Periodontal Disease
In this stage, the infection has spread to the bone. Aggressive bacteria are eating away at the bone, leading to bone loss. This stage can still be managed. Scaling and root planing are used to deep clean the pockets that develop, as these pockets become filled with bacteria.
Moderate Periodontal Disease
In the third stage of gum disease, the bacteria continue to eat away at the bone and get into the bloodstream as well. Scaling and root planing are usually used for this stage as well.
Severe Periodontal Disease
The bacteria now can cause disease. You get extremely deep pockets in your gums and may experience bleeding and oozing pus. Your teeth get loose and you may experience pain when you’re chewing. If this stage isn’t treated, it can lead to tooth loss and other severe dental problems. We’ll refer you to a specialist if you’re experiencing gum disease at this stage.
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing remove plaque and calculus above and below the gum line. This treatment is a deep cleaning that smooths down the rough surfaces of the tooth roots to minimize future buildup. This procedure also helps the gums reattach to the teeth. We use a local anesthetic for scaling and root planing. Our dentists will take radiographs before and after to ensure all buildup is removed.
We can also refer you to a periodontist for more advanced gum procedures or surgeries. Patients with moderate to severe cases of periodontitis may require gum grafts, flap surgery, or other often intensive procedures.
FAQs Periodontal Disease Treatment
Is scaling and root planing painful?
If necessary, your dentist will administer a local anesthetic before beginning for your comfort. However, in general, the procedure is not painful. Your teeth and gums may feel sore afterward but this should go away on its own in a day or so. Additionally, some people experience minor swelling and bleeding. This too is completely normal and resolves on its own in about a day.
What will happen if I do not treat my gum disease?
Irreversible damage to your teeth, gums, and underlying jaw bone is inevitable if you ignore your gum disease. This progressive disease can lead to gum recession, tooth loss, and bone loss. These conditions are very hard and expensive to treat. Additionally, severe infections in your mouth can impact your overall health. Gum disease is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and more.
Can gum disease be cured?
If you display early signs of gum disease, known as gingivitis, then yes your gum disease can be managed and reversed. However, if left to progress and reach the stage of periodontitis, then it will most likely be something you deal with for a lifetime. Periodontitis causes serious damage to your teeth, gums, and bone. At this stage, we will just try to control the disease as best as possible.
Contact Our Dental Office
Are you noticing signs of periodontitis like gum irritation or bleeding? Call our office at 256.202.4186 for care. You can also request an appointment with Dr. Duling online.