WHAT IS PERIODONTAL DISEASE?
Gum disease, often called periodontal disease in medical contexts, is a condition characterized by the inflammation of gum tissues, which can cause severe damage to a person's oral health. There are three stages of periodontal disease that range from mild to serious. The initial stage of the condition is gingivitis, and it is brought on by an excess buildup of plaque underneath the gumline. If not treated, gingivitis can progress to the second stage of periodontal disease, known as periodontitis, which affects the fibers and bone that keep your teeth rooted in place. Advanced periodontitis is the final and most severe phase of gum disease, as it is often the stage at which tooth loss occurs.
To manage periodontal disease and its symptoms, our team at Oakridge Dental provides both surgical and nonsurgical treatments, depending on your unique condition and its severity. Some of these treatments can include scaling and root planing (SRP), antibiotics, gum surgery, and tooth extractions. When you start to exhibit some potential signs of periodontal disease, it's important that you seek help immediately. Contact our Farmington, UT office to schedule a gum disease evaluation and treatment planning session with board-certified dentist Dr. Brian Call.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF PERIODONTAL DISEASE?
The earliest stage of gum disease, gingivitis, is difficult to identify on your own, which is why it's important to schedule yearly dental exams at Oakridge Dental. These checkups give Dr. Call an opportunity to assess your gum pockets so he can diagnose and treat the problem before it can spread and affect your oral structures and overall health. As gum disease progresses, symptoms will include red or swollen gums, bleeding due to regular flossing and brushing, a receding gumline, spaces between the tooth roots and gum tissue, and chronic bad breath (halitosis). During the later phases of gum disease, you may also experience discomfort while chewing and sensitivity to hot and cold foods. It's crucial to schedule an appointment if you notice any of these signs so the infection can be corrected before it spreads.
HOW IS GUM DISEASE TREATED?
Your gum disease treatment plan will vary based on a number of factors, including your stage of gum disease, its severity, and how far the infection has spread. If Dr. Call diagnoses you with gum disease, he will go over your options for treatment in great detail and help you understand which course of action will be best for your dental health. For more mild cases, like gingivitis, scaling and root planing is performed to remove plaque and tartar buildup from the gum pockets. More serious cases, such as periodontitis and advanced periodontitis, may require antibiotic treatment along with a series of scaling and root planing procedures. Some patients who are near the point of gum recession and tooth loss may require gum surgery or gum grafts.
CAN BAD BREATH BE TREATED AS WELL?
Bad breath is a feature that nobody wants, but unfortunately, it is also a commonly occurring sign of gum disease. Thankfully, oral malodor can be remedied when the bacteria causing it is removed. To address bad breath that can develop due to periodontal disease, Dr. Call can prescribe or recommend special products (like certain toothpastes or mouthwashes) to eliminate bacteria and bring freshness to your breath as your oral health improves as well. We can also give you tips to help you improve your at-home oral health habits, and when practiced over time, can lead to fresher breath and healthier gums and teeth. As gum disease is treated, halitosis often dissipates as well.
The recovery you experience will vary, depending on the starting severity of your condition and your individual treatment plan. You may have to attend several appointments at Oakridge Dental over a period of time to receive advanced cleanings in an effort to treat your condition. Once your oral health is in better shape, continuing to attend your biannual cleanings and yearly dental exams will be crucial to maintaining your restored dental wellness. You should also continue to follow a consistent at-home oral health routine that involves brushing no less than twice a day, flossing, and mouthwash. Dr. Call can recommend an antibacterial mouthwash or toothpaste to reduce your risk for developing gum disease once more.
EARLY DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT IS KEY
Gum disease is a progressive condition that will only get worse if treatment is not sought out as soon as possible. At Oakridge Dental, we work closely with men and women to ease their symptoms and manage their gum health before more issues can develop, such as gum recession and tooth loss. To learn how you can regain your oral health, get in touch with our office in Farmington, UT and schedule your appointment.