Do you notice that your gums appear swollen or there is blood when you are brushing? While it may seem like not a big deal or a sign of brushing too harsh, it may be the first warning signs of gum disease. Gum disease is one of the most common dental conditions among adults in the United States and without treatment, it can lead to many negative health effects including an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, or diabetes. Treating gum disease is important to both your oral health and overall wellness. At the office of Anjum A. Ansari DMD, in Boston, MA, we screen regularly for gum disease so that we can treat it fast and effectively.
Gum Disease Treatment Options
Treatment of gum disease depends on a patients’ individual symptoms as well as the severity of the disease. The first stage of gum disease known as gingivitis typically produces symptoms such as swollen, tender gums, bleeding while brushing, or chronic bad breath. In the later stages of gum disease, the gum tissue begins to pull away from the teeth, creating pockets that trap bacteria.
Regardless of the stage, the first step in treatment is to improve oral hygiene, both at home and in our office. This will include:
- Making sure to brush teeth at least twice each day for two minutes each time, focusing on getting the inner, outer, and chewing sides of the teeth.
- Flossing at least once each day to remove any trapped food particles between teeth.
- Professional teeth cleanings to remove any plaque build-up that at home brushing alone will not correct.
The 3 stages of gum disease are gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. Gingivitis is caused by toxins irritating the gum line as a result of plaque buildup. Signs and symptoms of gingivitis includes swelling, sensitivity, and bleeding of the gums during brushing and flossing. Gingivitis can be easily reversed through professional care and good home oral hygiene. Periodontitis is categorized by irreversible bone loss that results from untreated gingivitis. The gums may begin to form a pocket below the gum line which traps food and plaque. Dental treatment and home care can help prevent from further damage, but at this stage, the results are not reversible. Advanced periodontitis is when the fibers and bones supporting the teeth destroyed. This may cause teeth to shift or loosen. Teeth may have to be removed depending on how advanced the disease has become and if treatments are not effective. You can begin by preventing gum disease with good oral health. Pick up a brochure or ask your dentist today.
Other gum disease treatments may also be recommended, such as:
- Antibiotics – oral and/or topical antibiotics may be required to treat infection caused by bacteria.
- Scaling and root planing – a professional deep cleaning that will remove plaque and tartar below the gum lines and reduce periodontal pockets caused by the disease.
- Restorations – if you have lost teeth or experienced gum recession as a result of gum disease, restorative treatments will be recommended. This can include tissue grafts, bone grafts, and tooth replacement.
The most important thing you can do to prevent serious damage from gum disease is to practice good oral hygiene, maintain routine dental exams, and seek treatment at the first sign of symptoms. If you live in the Boston, MA area and would like to schedule a call with Dr. Ansari, please call (617) 581-0689.