Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis and can eventually lead to tooth loss and other health problems.
Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. It causes the gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort at this stage. Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care.
Factors that may contribute to gingivitis include, diabetes, smoking, aging, genetic predisposition, systemic diseases and conditions, stress, inadequate nutrition, puberty, hormonal fluctuations, pregnancy, substance abuse, HIV infection, and certain medication use.
Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. The toxins stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body in essence turns on itself, and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. Gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Often, this destructive process has very mild symptoms. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.
Gum Disease Symptoms
Gum disease is often silent, meaning symptoms may not appear until an advanced stage of the disease.
However, warning signs of gum disease include the following:
- Red, swollen or tender gums or other pain in your mouth
- Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or eating hard food
- Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth, causing the teeth to look longer than before
- Loose or separating teeth
- Pus between your gums and teeth
- Sores in your mouth
- Persistent bad breath
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- A change in the fit of partial dentures
Millions of people don’t know they have this serious infection that can lead to tooth loss if not treated.
At Molar TO Molar Dentistry we can usually treat all levels of gum disease non-surgically. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss and is associated with other chronic diseases, including diabetes and heart disease. That’s why good oral hygiene is of upmost importance. Our staff can help you eliminate gum disease with our state-of-the-art care, and in most cases without surgery.
In treating gum disease our staff use an ultrasonic scaler to gently scale each tooth. Scaling is the process of removing tartar from the tooth. Next, we fine scale using hand instruments to ensure all deposits are removed, followed by a rubber cup polish and air polisher if necessary for difficult stains.
The more severe cases of gum disease are referred to our periodontist
Gum disease is caused by bacteria. We will use an antimicrobial that helps kill the bacteria at the root of the problem. In treating gum disease we places the antimicrobial within infected gum pockets right below your gum-line so that your gums can heal better. This is an option service that we provide to our patients and might not be covered under your Health Plan.
What Happens During Scaling and Root Planing?
- At your appointment, gums are usually numbed with a topical or local anesthetic to prevent discomfort.
- Our Doctor or Hygienist will then begin removing plaque from the base of the tooth and below the gum line with a handheld device known as a scaler.
- In some cases, an ultrasonic scaler may be used.
- Once the pockets have been irrigated and sterilized, a root planing device will be used to smooth the root surface of the tooth.
- This helps gums reattach to the base of the teeth so that food and other bacteria are less likely to get trapped below the gum line.
- To ensure the infection is completely treated, an antimicrobial may be applied under the gum-line.
After Treatment Care?
After scaling and root planing, you can return to normal activity immediately. You may experience some tooth sensitivity and gum tenderness for the first day or two, but nothing that an over-the-counter pain reliever can’t alleviate. If you were given medication to take, or a special mouthwash to use afterward, be sure and follow your instructions carefully. Patients with gum disease are usually encouraged to come in every three or four months for routine cleanings to help maintain optimal oral health. During these visits, the dentist will measure and monitor the pocket depths around your teeth to determine whether additional treatment is require.