Gum Disease Facts, Symptoms, & Treatment Options

Smiling couple lying on stomachs in grassGum disease is one of the most common issues that our Woodinville patients encounter. Known as periodontal disease, it's an infection of the gums in your mouth. It can lead to tooth loss and a variety of serious problems, which is why it's so important to receive regular check-ups at the dentist for preventative action, early evaluation, and ongoing treatment.

One reason why many individuals don't realize they have a problem is because gum disease is typically pain free. That means that without regular exams, you can develop a serious issue without ever knowing it.

Gum disease is caused by a buildup of hardened bacteria or plaque. Regular brushing and flossing combats this, but your regular dental cleanings will be able to remove accumulations you cannot. When plaque is allowed to build up, it can damage the gums, creating pockets which separate the gums from your teeth.

There are two stages of gum disease:

First comes gingivitis, a term you're certainly familiar with. Here, gums become red and swollen, and may bleed easily. This is a treatable problem, it can be eliminated with proper treatment at the dentist, and proper and ongoing brushing and flossing at home.

Next though comes periodontitis. Here, serious and permanent damage is done to the gums and bone which support your teeth. Teeth can become loose or fall out, and other risks and side effects are created as a result.

Now that you know about the basics of gum disease, it's important to learn about what leads to increased risks of gum disease, and what the symptoms of gum disease are.

Gum disease risk factors:

  • Using tobacco products
  • Old fillings; bridges that don't fit properly
  • Diabetes
  • Crooked teeth
  • Medications including certain steroids, cancer therapy or anti-epilepsy drugs, oral contraceptives, calcium channel blockers
  • Pregnancy

Gum disease symptoms:

  • Easily and/or frequently bleeding gums
  • Red, swollen and tender gums
  • Gums pulling away from teeth
  • Loose or separating teeth, changes to how teeth fit together during biting
  • Changes to how partial dentures fit
  • Pus between teeth and gums
  • Ongoing bad breath or bad taste in mouth

Gum Disease Treatment and Prevention

The best treatment of any oral hygiene or dental issue is always going to be prevention. Regular dental cleanings are a crucial tool in the fight against gum disease, in addition to maintaining proper cleaning procedures at-home with brushing, flossing and mouthwash.

If you do develop gum disease though, treatments will vary depending on the severity and extensiveness of the problem. Options range from non-surgical treatments such as at-home periodontal trays, scaling and root planing, which is basically a deep cleaning, periodontal surgery and laser gum surgery, and finally, dental implants.

Schedule your dental cleaning and exam today to take action and prevent gum disease from developing.

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