Women brushing her teeth to prevent gum disease

Are you worried that you may have gum disease? Gum disease is serious, but if you catch it early on, it’s manageable. If you catch it in its earliest stage (gingivitis), you may even be able to reverse the damage.

Gum disease treatment isn’t complicated, but it’s important that you see a dental health professional as soon as you suspect that something is amiss. Unchecked periodontitis can lead to serious health problems in the future.

We’re here to keep you informed. Keep reading to learn all about gum disease symptoms, treatment, and prevention so you can make an informed decision about your dental health.

What Is Periodontitis?

Periodontitis is the professional term for gum disease. It’s a type of infection that infiltrates your sensitive gum tissue. It can happen if you have poor dental hygiene, unchecked cavities, or even inflamed wisdom teeth that are collecting bacteria.

An estimated 42% of adults over the age of 30 have some form of periodontal disease, and that number jumps up for adults over the age of 65. In other words, it’s common. You shouldn’t feel ashamed for having gum disease as that shame may cause you to put off seeing the dentist.

When plaque forms on your teeth, it can harden into tartar. That tartar can get into your gums, creating pockets. You can’t get rid of tartar at home.

Pockets can fill with bacteria that you can’t reach with a toothbrush and cause gum disease.

You may also enhance your risk of gum disease by smoking, consuming excessive alcohol, or recreational drug use. Some unlucky people can also chalk their gum disease up to genetics.

What Periodontitis Symptoms Should You Look Out For?

There are several clear signs of periodontitis that you may notice at home. You won’t know for sure until you visit a dentist or periodontist like Dr. Markle or Dr. Herman. They’ll be happy to talk to you about the progression of your gum disease and help you overcome it.

The first thing that many people notice is pain or bleeding while brushing or flossing. Flossing often comes first. The pain sometimes causes people to stop flossing, but this worsens the problem.

If you notice that your toothbrush or floss comes away pink, this is a sure sign that there’s something wrong.

If you notice that you have bad breath even after brushing, or if you experience pain while eating, it may be a sign of gum disease.

Gum disease causes your gums to become inflamed. They may look red or purple, and they’ll be swollen. You may even notice that your gums are receding.

When Should You Speak to a Periodontist?

When you notice these problems, talk to your dentist. There may be another cause, but it’s a good idea to bring it up just in case.

They will likely refer you to a gum specialist (or periodontist).

You can seek out a periodontist on your own if you’re certain that you have a problem. When these symptoms persist, you need to take action.

What Could Happen If You Don’t Seek Treatment?

It’s dangerous to allow gum disease to progress unchecked.

When it comes to your oral health, gum disease can cause a lot of damage to your mouth. Your gums will start to recede, which can cause your teeth to fall out.

Your oral health also impacts the rest of your body.

The bacteria that cause periodontitis can infiltrate the rest of your body through your bloodstream. Because of this, gum disease can lead to respiratory problems, heart disease, arthritis, and more.

If you want to keep all of your teeth and stay in good physical health, it’s important that you take care of your gums.

What Is the Proper Gum Disease Treatment?

Once you and your periodontist have determined that you’re dealing with gum disease, you’ll start treatment.

Treatment varies. Some treatment is non-surgical, but more extreme gum disease may require surgical intervention. Only your periodontist will know how to proceed.

First, they’ll do a dental scaling. This gets rid of tartar buildup to clear out the gums. They may also do root planing to help prevent future buildup.

Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to help control the infection and prevent future problems.

If you need surgery, surgical procedures also vary.

Many people discover that they need a gum graft. When your gums recede, they may not be able to support your teeth any longer. With a graft, you can replace some of that gum coverage to protect your roots.

They may also do flap surgery. This means that the periodontist will lift a small section of your gums to clean underneath them.

If you have severe problems with your gums, the periodontist may suggest tissue and bone regeneration. Common procedures include bone grafting, guided tissue regeneration, and tissue-stimulating proteins.

Prevention and Oral Health

Gum disease is preventable if you take care of your oral health. Even after you’ve received a gum disease diagnosis, it’s important that you use good oral hygiene habits to prevent future problems. Gum disease treatment at home also includes good oral hygiene.

You should brush and floss your teeth every day. You can floss once per day, before bed, but you should brush twice per day or more. You may also want to invest in a good mouthwash.

Make sure that you get regular dental cleanings. Most dental professionals recommend getting a cleaning twice per year, but if you’re already displaying signs of periodontitis, your dental professional may recommend extra cleanings.

Gum Disease Is a Serious Condition

If you think that you might have symptoms of gum disease, it’s important that you seek out help. Getting gum disease treatment early on can prevent future problems and protect your teeth.

Don’t assume that your symptoms will go away on their own. Seek out a periodontist today.

Are you looking for a new periodontist to help you with your gum concerns? At Baton Rouge Perio, Dr. Kenneth Markle and Dr. Jenny Herman are experienced and ready to discuss your condition.

Get in touch with our dental team and schedule an appointment today.