Gum disease is an overgrowth of bacteria in the mouth. Gone unchecked, this problem will eventually destroy the bone that supports your teeth, damage the soft tissues of your mouth, separate gums and teeth from each other, and lead to tooth loss. At Smiles by the Sea in Hampton, NH, we offer a variety of treatments to restore your oral health.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
The earliest stages of gum disease are difficult for the untrained eye to recognize. This makes regular dental visits even more important because your Hampton dentist will notice symptoms of early disease and initiate treatment. If gum disease is permitted to fester for too long it can eventually cause symptoms such as:
- Gum irritation
- Swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Red gums
- Tender gums
- Bad breath
- Gum recession
- Loose teeth
- Tooth loss
Treatments for Gum Disease
Our in-house periodontist is focused on helping patients keep and rebuild their natural smiles. All treatments for gum disease address the infection while also working to minimize the formation of plaque, reduce inflammation, staunch bleeding gums, and promote healing.
- Scaling and root planing: This soft tissue management requires the use of special dental tools to remove tartar from below the gum line while also smoothing out bumpy areas to eliminate surfaces that attract plaque.
- Osseous surgery: Also known as pocket reduction surgery, this procedure eliminates bacteria living in the pockets around the teeth. The gums are cut back, bacteria are removed, and damaged bone is repaired.
- Antibiotics: A course of antibiotics may be prescribed to help attack the gum infection and promote healing. This can take the form of an antimicrobial rinse, mouthwash, or topical treatment.
Undergoing gum disease treatment is not enough to keep your mouth healthy. It establishes a good foundation to restore your oral health, but it is important afterward to prioritize your teeth and gums, maintain a strong oral hygiene routine at home, see your dentist regularly, and get help immediately for any dental problems that arise.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
Gum disease always starts small, with a build-up of excess plaque on the teeth near the gum line. This plaque carries an overgrowth of bacteria that leaves the gums infected and is the start of gingivitis, the earliest stage. From there, the problem progresses in stages, each one more serious than the next, until eventually the bone that supports the teeth is destroyed.
Gum disease is the top cause of tooth loss among adults. The risk of the disease increases as you age, but young people are not immune to gum issues either, especially if they do not take good care of their oral health. The problem cannot reverse on its own or heal naturally – dental intervention is necessary.
Remember, though, that gum disease is not inevitable. You can prevent it.
- Take care of your oral health: Brush your teeth twice a day, floss once a day, and see your dentist every six months, at a minimum.
- Know your risks: If your parents or siblings have suffered from periodontal issues, your chances of developing the same problem increase. Prioritize your oral health and do not slack on at-home oral hygiene or skip dental check-ups and cleanings.
- Stop using tobacco: Smoking or using chewing tobacco automatically increases your risk of gum infections.
- Understand your medications: Some medications can cause dry mouth and other oral health problems that contribute to dental complications. Let your dentist know what meds you take so together you can develop a plan to keep this type of disease at bay.
- Consider your hormones: Hormone fluctuations in women, especially during pregnancy, can lead to temporary gum inflammation.