What is Gum Disease?
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is an oral infection that develops in your gum tissue. It’s caused by a buildup of bacteria in your mouth that leaves sticky deposits on your teeth called plaque.
Gum disease is quite common — in fact, nearly half of American adults suffer from periodontal disease. This infection can lead to serious health consequences without treatment, so it’s crucial that you’re aware of the symptoms.
The Stages of Gum Disease
- Gingivitis — This is the first stage of gum disease, when your gums start to look red and inflamed. You typically won’t feel any pain during this stage, so many patients don’t even realize that anything is wrong.
- Periodontitis — If you don’t seek treatment quickly, gingivitis will eventually progress to periodontitis. At this point, bacteria will begin to destroy the underlying bone and tissues in your mouth, leading to tooth loss. You’ll also feel severe pain in your gums.
Risk Factors for Gum Disease
There are several factors that can increase your risk of developing gum disease. Some of these include:
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Medications that reduce saliva flow
- Certain health conditions, such as cancer or AIDS
If your gums look red and swollen, or if they start to bleed when you brush your teeth, contact our office right away.
Treatments for Gum Disease
If you seek treatment during the early stage of gum disease, we can reverse your symptoms with relative ease. You may even be able to reverse the infection yourself with improved oral care at home.
If not, Dr. Foust can restore your oral health with scaling and root planing. Sometimes referred to as deep cleaning, this procedure involves removing plaque from above and below your gumline.
Once your infection has progressed to the periodontitis stage, more intensive treatment methods become necessary. If you have teeth with infected pulp tissue from the excess plaque in your mouth, we can perform root canal therapy to protect you from pain.
Though we’ll do our best to save all of your natural teeth, some may need to be removed and replaced with dental implants. Our implants are natural-looking and highly durable for a flawless appearance that will last for many years to come.
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes gum disease?
Gum disease is caused by an accumulation of plaque in your teeth and gums. To prevent plaque from building up, brush your teeth and floss every day in addition to visiting Dr. Foust for hygiene appointments every six months.
What’s the difference between gingivitis and periodontitis?
Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease when your symptoms are mild and can still be reversed with a thorough cleaning. Periodontitis is the advanced stage when treatment becomes more difficult and your teeth start to loosen, often leading to tooth loss.
What if I leave my gum disease untreated?
If you notice any signs of gum disease, it’s essential to seek treatment right away. Ignoring your condition can lead to serious health problems including tooth loss, cardiovascular issues, and severe pain in your gums on a daily basis.
What’s the best mouthwash to prevent gum disease?
There’s a wide range of antibacterial mouthwashes that help to prevent gum disease. Two excellent choices that we recommend are Crest Pro-Health Multi-Protection Mouthwash and Colgate Total Advanced Pro-Shield.
Visit Smile! Dental Center for Gum Disease Treatment
Don’t let gum disease ruin your smile. Call our office at 724-502-4221 to schedule your consultation with Dr. Foust. Rest assured, he’ll help to rid your mouth of infection and protect your oral health.