A Quick Guide To Understanding Your Gum Disease

If you have recently been diagnosed with gum disease, you are not alone and prompt treatment is essential to prevent it from causing pain, infection, and significant dental challenges. However, it's important to note that there are several forms of the disease and the severity of your existing gum disease will impact your treatment options. Therefore, the following information about both gingivitis and periodontal disease is likely to be quite useful:

Understanding Early Gum Disease

The earliest form of gum disease is known as gingivitis and often appears during childhood. All forms of gum disease are caused by the presence of plaque and bacteria in the mouth that is not removed in a timely manner. It rarely presents with any pain, but gums may be sensitive after brushing or flossing. In addition, they may bleed briefly at and immediately after those occurrences.  

Some common risk factors for early gum disease include, but are not limited to:

  • Having diabetes

  • Smoking 

  • Inadequate personal or professional dental care

  • Being pregnant or menopausal 

  • Not being healthy

Fortunately for the 47.2% of adults aged 30 or older in the U.S. who have some form of gum disease, it can be treated easily at this stage. Seeing your dentist for professional cleanings as recommended, combined with brushing and flossing as needed will often reverse the problem. If the gingivitis is permitted to linger, it will turn into periodontal disease, as discussed next.    

Considering Periodontal Disease

Periodontitis can be easily identified due to obviously recessed gums and the development of tiny pockets of space in the gums between the teeth. Although it's seen more often in adults, it has also been diagnosed in kids. Unfortunately, bone loss and damage to the gums that results in one or more teeth falling out are common aspects of periodontitis. 

Treatment options include removing with tools plaque, tartar and debris found under the gum line and on the affected teeth in a procedure known as scaling. In most instances, it is followed immediately by root planing, which involves smoothing out any rough edges on the tooth or root. It is not unusual to undergo planing and scaling more than one time over the course of treatment in order to get the best results. In addition, if bone or tissue loss has occurred, your dentist might suggest a gum graft or other regenerative treatment to replace the missing substances. 

In conclusion, untreated or poorly managed periodontal disease can lead to pain, abscess, infection, as well as bone and tooth loss. As a result, if your dentist has recently diagnosed you with gum disease, you need to be aware of the facts shared above.