Understanding Gum Disease
Periodontics focuses on an inflammatory disease that destroys the gums and causes an infection that can damage the soft tissue in your mouth, destroy your jawbone, and lead to tooth loss if left untreated.
There are three stages of gum disease, and if it’s caught at its earliest stage, the infection can be treated and reversed. These stages include:
- Gingivitis: The mildest form that causes the gums to be puffy, red, and swollen from plaque buildup along the gumline.
- Periodontitis: A pocket below the gumline forms at the second stage of gum disease that traps food, and causes the gums to recede and bleed during brushing.
- Advanced Periodontitis: The fibers and bone are destroyed in the last stage, and teeth may begin to shift or loosen.
Risk Factors Associated with Periodontitis
Certain factors may increase your risk of periodontitis, which often times can be difficult to manage. These factors to look out for include:
- Older Age
- Medication that reduces saliva production
- Certain health conditions such as AIDS or cancer
Comfortable Treatment Gum Disease
At Optima Dental, Dr. Houenou can identify gum disease at its earliest stage and provide you with treatment that can reverse the effects and symptoms of the infection. During your biannual check-ups, our team will perform a scaling and root planing treatment to remove all plaque buildup along your gum line.
Using unique, non-invasive dental tools, we can remove hardened plaque, also known as tartar, from your tooth’s surface, and underneath your gums. We’ll finish off the treatment by smoothing out each tooth’s root surface to ensure the gum disease doesn’t return.
Proper dental maintenance is required at home in order for your gums and teeth to remain healthy. If you don’t floss at least once a day, the plaque from food and other bacteria in your mouth will likely buildup again and lead to infection.
Common Questions About Periodontics
Many of our patients have the same questions about periodontic care when they come in, so we’ve put together a few FAQs and answers to help you understand the disease.
What causes gum disease?
Periodontitis begins with plaque-- a sticky white film that forms on your tooth’s surface and below your gum line from bacteria. If you don’t follow a proper hygiene routine, the greater chance you’ll have gum disease.
What’s the difference between gingivitis and periodontitis?
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease that causes irritation and swelling around the base of your teeth and can be reversed. Periodontitis causes deep pockets between your gums and teeth that are filled with bacteria which can cause tissue and bone loss.
What if I leave my gum disease untreated?
When gum disease is neglected, it can lead to bone loss which can cause your teeth to loosen and fall out.
What’s the best mouthwash to prevent gum disease?
Although mouthwash can’t completely prevent gum disease, it can be a great defense system for the bacteria in your mouth. Some types of mouthwash that can help are:
- Crest Pro-Health Multiprotection Rinse
- Oxyfresh Lemon Mint Mouthwash
- Tom's of Maine Natural Wicked Fresh! Mouth Wash
- Listerine Zero Clean Mint Mouthwash
- Listerine Naturals Antiseptic Mouthwash
Is periodontal disease reversible?
Periodontal disease can be reversed at the earliest stage-- gingivitis. Additionally, daily brushing, flossing, and rinsing can help eliminate it as well.
Maintain Healthy Gums with Dr. Houenou
Living with healthy gums will help ensure your smile remains beautiful for years to come. No one should suffer from the effects of periodontitis and we can help you prevent it. Dr. Houenou and our team always put the health of your smile first, and we can offer you a variety of treatments based on your unique needs. Schedule an appointment with us today to learn more.