What is Gum Disease?
There are two main types of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease and is often characterized by red and swollen gums and bleeds easily. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care. If untreated, gingivitis will advance to the more serious type of gum disease, periodontitis.
Periodontitis is a more severe stage of gum disease and occurs when plaque, bacteria, and toxins spread into the gums, inflaming them and breaking the tissue down. As the disease progresses, gums begin to separate from the teeth and form pockets, and eventually, gum, bone, and tooth tissue are destroyed.
Periodontal disease can cause subtle symptoms at first. You may notice that your gums bleed when you brush or floss your teeth. Your gums may appear red and swollen, feel tender and recede from your teeth, and you may experience bad breath and have bad taste in your mouth. Call Dr. Rahimi-Thornton if you experience swollen gums, bleeding gums, or loose teeth.
As the disease progresses, you may notice deep pockets forming between your teeth and gums. Your teeth may feel loose or shift easily. When you chew, your teeth may feel like they are out of alignment or in different positions than they were before. Pain usually does not occur until advanced periodontal disease.
Treatment for periodontal disease depends on the type of disease and how far it has spread. Initial treatments usually include a professional dental cleaning with scaling and root planing. Scaling is a procedure that removes plaque, tartar, and stains from the tooth surface. Root planing removes plaque and tartar while smoothing the root surface. The smooth surface makes it more difficult for plaque to attach to it. Root planing allows the gum tissues to heal next to the teeth.
Periodontitis can lead to bone loss, abscesses, receding gums, gum pain, bleeding, tooth mobility, sensitivity, and even tooth loss. If treatment is successful, scaling and planning may have many periodontal benefits. One is that it can help prevent disease. Research has proven that bacteria from periodontal infections can travel through the bloodstream and affect other areas of the body, sometimes causing heart and respiratory diseases. Scaling and root planing remove bacteria that cause these conditions. If you are experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, be sure to reserve an appointment with Dr. Rahimi-Thornton at Thornton Dental in Bryan, TX.