What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease (periodontitis) is when the gum tissues become infected. It’s usually a result of poor oral hygiene. When you do not brush and floss away sticky plaque, it can build up along the gum line, harden and form tartar and infect the gums. Once plaque has hardened into tartar, the only way to remove it is with a professional dental cleaning. If it’s not removed, it infects the gums and leads to disease. Once it forms, the gums begin to pull away from the teeth and the bone and natural tooth support system that holds your teeth in place begin to disappear. Your teeth will slowly become looser and may even shift in your mouth, and once it reaches its final stage, tooth loss is inevitable.
At Elevated Smiles, we encourage our patients to take the necessary steps to avoid gum disease with proper at-home care and with regular professional dental cleanings. Unfortunately, some patients are at a higher risk of developing gum disease more than others. If it happens, the most important aspect of recovering is early treatment. The earlier you seek treatment, the less damage will occur.
Certain factors can increase your risk of developing gum disease. If any risk factors apply to you, we may recommend extra dental cleanings throughout the year to increase your prevention. These risk factors include:
- Smoking or tobacco use
- Dry mouth
- Grinding/clenching teeth
- Poor nutrition
- Hormonal changes
- Certain medications
- Systemic diseases
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Gum disease isn’t necessarily a painful dental problem, at least in the earlier stages. It’s important to recognize the symptoms as soon as they occur, even if they are subtle, to receive treatment as soon as possible. We highly encourage our patients to never skip a dental exam so that we can identify signs much earlier. If you’re developing gum disease, you may notice the following symptoms.
- Red, tender and swollen gums
- Bleeding gums after brushing or flossing
- Persistent halitosis (bad breath)
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Receding gums
- Deep pockets forming between teeth
- Shifting or loose teeth
- Changes in bite or the fit of partial dentures
Scaling and Root Planing (Deep Cleaning)
If Dr. Saw or Dr. Luu determine you have gingivitis or periodontitis, they will recommend a scaling and root planing treatment, also known as a deep cleaning. During a scaling and root planing, our Carlsbad dentists will start by numbing up your gums. They will then use a special dental instrument to first remove the plaque and tartar from below the gum line. This part is known as scaling. After removing the plaque and tartar, Dr. Saw or Dr. Luu uses root planing to smooth the surface of the tooth root and ultimately help the gums reattach naturally to the tooth. In serious cases of gum disease, we may also include the use of antibiotics to remove the infection.
After your deep cleaning, it’s up to you to maintain proper oral hygiene through brushing and flossing and regular professional cleanings to keep your gums healthy.
Gum Disease Treatment in Carlsbad, CA
Whether you already have gum disease and you need treatment or you want to prevent it to your best abilities, our team at Elevated Smiles can help. Contact our Carlsbad dental office to schedule your next dental cleaning or gum disease treatment today. Please call (760) 622-3010 to schedule an appointment.