Posts for tag: periodontal disease
Periodontal (gum) disease, a bacterial infection caused by plaque, is one of the most prevalent and destructive dental conditions. Left untreated it can eventually lead to tooth and bone loss.
Although people are often unaware they have gum disease, there are a few warning signs to look for. Here are five gum disease signs that should prompt a dental visit.
Gum Swelling and Redness. Like all infections, gum disease triggers an immune system response that releases antibodies into the gums to attack the bacteria. The ensuing battle results in inflammation (swelling) and a darker redness to the gum tissues that don’t lessen with time.
Gum Bleeding. It isn’t normal for healthy gum tissue, which are quite resilient, to bleed. In a few cases, bleeding may indicate over-aggressive brushing, but more likely it means the tissues have weakened to such an extent by infection they bleed easily.
Tooth Sensitivity. If you notice a shot of pain when you eat or drink something hot or cold or when you bite down, this could mean infected gums have “drawn back” (receded) from the teeth. Gum recession exposes the tooth roots, which are more sensitive to temperature and pressure changes in the mouth.
An Abscess. As weakened gum tissues detach from the tooth, the normally thin gap between them and the tooth deepens to form a void known as a periodontal pocket. This often results in an abscess where pus collects in the pocket and causes it to appear more swollen and red than nearby tissues. An abscess needs immediate attention as bone loss is greatly accelerated compared to normal gum disease.
Tooth Looseness or Movement. As diseased gum tissue causes loss of gum and bone attachment, the affected teeth will start to feel loose or even move to a different position. This is a late and alarming sign of gum disease — without immediate intervention, you’re in danger of losing the tooth.
If you encounter any of these signs, contact us for an examination as soon as possible. The sooner we can diagnose gum disease and begin treatment, the less damage it will cause — and the better your odds of regaining healthy teeth and gums.
If you would like more information on gum disease, please contact us to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Warning Signs of Periodontal (Gum) Disease.”
What your dentist in Newberg wants you to know
Periodontal disease usually takes several years to become serious, but there are some warning signs along the way. Dr. Angela Toy at Arbor Hills Dental in Newberg, OR, wants to share why you shouldn’t ignore the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease.
Before you have periodontal disease, you have gum disease, a condition that affects just your soft tissue. You may not feel any pain, but you may notice slight bleeding when you brush or floss. Early signs and symptoms of gum disease include:
- Red, swollen gums
- Painful gums
- Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
The good news is gum disease is a totally reversible condition. You can bring your gums back to a healthy state with regular brushing and flossing. That’s because gum disease is caused by the toxins and bacteria in dental plaque. If you regularly remove plaque, the bacteria and toxins don’t have a chance to infect your gums. You should also visit your dentist at least once each year, and have a professional cleaning at least once every six months.
If you don’t practice excellent oral hygiene, your gum disease can progress to periodontal disease during which the bone supporting your teeth becomes infected and diseased. Like gum disease, there are several signs and symptoms of periodontal disease. In addition to gum disease symptoms, you should also look for:
- Gums that are receding
- Exposed tooth roots
- Chronic bad breath
- Sensitive teeth
- Loose teeth
- Teeth that have moved out of position
If you have periodontal disease, you will need more aggressive treatment to control the disease. Treatment begins with a thorough dental examination and x-rays of the roots of your teeth. Measurements of bone levels are taken and your dentist will formulate a plan to treat your disease.
Periodontal therapy usually includes a thorough deep cleaning, called root planing, which is often performed with anesthetic. During root planing, plaque and tartar deposits are removed. The goal of root planing is to establish a healthy tissue-to-tooth attachment. After the initial root planing treatments, periodontal cleanings are recommended at frequent intervals, usually every three to four months.
Don’t ignore the signs and symptoms of gum and periodontal disease. Seek out the help of an expert. Call Dr. Toy at Arbor Hills Dental in Newberg, OR. Don’t let gum and periodontal disease take over your smile, call today!
Periodontal (gum) disease is a serious infection that can damage more than periodontal tissues — supporting bone structure is also at risk. Any bone loss could eventually lead to tooth loss.
To stop it from causing this kind of damage, we must match this disease's aggressiveness with equally aggressive treatment. The various treatment techniques all have the same goal: to remove bacterial plaque, the source of the infection, from all oral surfaces, including below the gum line. Buildup of plaque, a thin film of food particles, after only a few days without adequate brushing and flossing is enough time to trigger gum disease.
The basic removal technique is called scaling, using hand instruments called scalers to manually remove plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) above or just below the gum line. If the disease or infection has advanced to the roots, we may use another technique called root planing in which we shave or “plane” plaque and tartar from the root surfaces.
Advancing gum disease also causes a number of complex problems like abscesses (localized infections in certain areas of gum tissue) or periodontal pockets. In the latter circumstance the slight normal gap between tooth and gums becomes deeper as the tissues weaken and pull away. This forms a void or pocket that fills with inflammation or infection that must be removed. Plaque buildup can also occur around furcations, the places where a tooth's roots divide off from one another.
It may be necessary in these more complex situations to perform a procedure known as flap surgery to gain access to these infected areas. As the name implies, we create an opening in the gums with a hinge, much like the flap of a paper envelope. Once the accessed area has been cleansed of plaque and infected tissues (and often treated with antibiotics to stop further infection), the flapped tissue is closed back in place and sutured.
To avoid these advanced stages it's important for you to see us at the first sign of problems: swollen, red or bleeding gums. Even more important is to reduce your risk for gum disease in the first place with dedicated daily brushing and flossing to remove plaque and regular dental visits for more thorough cleaning.
Gum disease can be devastating to your long-term dental health. But with diligent hygiene and early aggressive treatment you can stop this destructive disease in its tracks.
If you would like more information on treating gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Treating Difficult Areas of Periodontal Disease.”