Gum disease, scientifically referred to as gingivitis or periodontal disease, is a prevalent oral health issue that can have serious consequences if left untreated. It often stems from prolonged exposure to plaque, a sticky, colorless film that accumulates on teeth after eating or sleeping. This plaque buildup becomes a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and other residues from meals, leading to infections in the gums.
Early Signs of Gum Disease
Recognizing the early warning signs of gum disease is crucial for timely intervention. These signs include:
- Persistent bad breath
- Tender or painful gums
- Swollen gums
- Bleeding of the gums after brushing or flossing
Unfortunately, gingivitis can sometimes go unnoticed, allowing the infections to progress unchecked. As the disease advances, it can cause the gums to recede from the teeth, creating pockets where further infection and decay can flourish.
Treatments for Gingivitis
While gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss in adults, it is largely preventable. Neglecting gingivitis can lead to more severe complications such as abscesses, bone loss or periodontitis (the more severe stage of gum disease). To address periodontitis, various treatment methods are available. One common approach is scaling and root planing, a procedure involving the thorough cleaning and smoothing of tooth roots beneath the gum line. Successful scaling and root planing can aid in gum reattachment to the tooth structure, though it may not always fully resolve the issue.
It is important to note that hormonal changes during pregnancy can also contribute to a specific form of gingivitis, driven by increased plaque production. Thus, maintaining regular dental checkups and a diligent oral hygiene routine is crucial for preventing and managing gum disease, ensuring long-term dental health and overall wellbeing.
Give us a call today at 913-268-0808 to schedule your appointment with Dr. William Strutz, our experienced periodontist, and learn more about gum disease treatment in Shawnee, Kansas!