If you’re experiencing swollen and bleeding gums, you’re likely experiencing the leading cause of these symptoms—gum disease. Fortunately, gum disease isn’t an all-or-nothing condition, and it increases in severity as it progresses. So, the earlier a dentist detects signs of it, the easier it could be to treat.
And with early detection, it’s possible to reverse some of the effects of gum disease without extreme treatment measures. Regular dental exams are one of the best ways of staying on top of your oral health, including catching gum disease early. Ultimately gum disease can cause serious health problems unrelated to your mouth, which we’ll cover below, so prevention or rapid treatment is essential.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontitis, is an infection that initially damages your gums. If left untreated, it can eventually affect the bones supporting your teeth. In turn, this could lead to loose teeth or teeth falling out.
Although gum disease is a common oral condition, it can typically be prevented with proper oral hygiene. Recognizing the signs of periodontitis, in addition to regular dental exams, is critical in reversing it.
The symptoms of gum disease can include:
- Puffy or swollen gums
- Easily bleeding gums
- Abnormal colour—bright, dark red or purple, for example
- Blood in your spit after brushing or flossing
- Sore or tender gums
- Pain in your teeth while chewing
- Chronic bad breath
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Loose teeth
- Receding gum line
- Changes in your bite or how your teeth look when they fit together
In the early stages of periodontitis, swollen, bleeding gums are typically the first warning sign that your teeth need extra attention.
Reversing Gum Disease
Scientists have linked gum disease to several other troubling health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, or low birth weight, in addition to potentially resulting in tooth loss. Let’s review several ways to help prevent and reverse gum disease damage.
Regular Dental Exams
One of the most critical tools in your overall oral health is seeing your dentist regularly. During a recall exam, your dentist can inspect your teeth for signs of gum disease. Additionally, they can check and make sure there are no other problems, like issues with your bite or tartar buildup that could lead to periodontitis.
Professionally cleaned teeth aren’t just a special procedure to make your teeth sparkle—although they just might. Professional cleaning is an essential part of your oral health maintenance. It often makes sense to combine a dental exam with a professional cleaning. Together your dentist and the hygienist make a complete team to care for your mouth.
Regular Oral Hygiene
While important, seeing your dentist every four to six months is only a part of caring for your mouth. Your personal care routine is the other part of the equation. Ultimately, your dentist can provide you with advice that’s specific to you. But a good oral care routine typically involves brushing at least twice daily and flossing once.
Mouthwash can make an excellent addition to brushing and flossing to keep your mouth feeling fresh and clean, but it should never replace it.
Laser Periodontal Therapy
Laser periodontal therapy isn’t typically a standalone treatment. Instead, it’s often used with a traditional treatment, such as a professional cleaning (with scaling and root planing).
Once the infection travels below the gum line, simply cleaning—no matter how thorough—may not be enough. Your dentist can remove inflamed tissue from around the tooth’s root to allow proper cleaning.
Although laser therapy is more invasive than cleaning, it’s still less invasive than most traditional oral surgical procedures.
Severe or more advanced cases of gum disease may require oral surgery. Your dentist could recommend several surgical procedures depending on the exact nature of your case. Like any other surgery, you may have pre-surgery instructions, such as stopping certain medications or taking an antibiotic.
Recovery time can be more lengthy for many traditional oral surgeries compared to laser therapy. But as long as you follow your dentist’s aftercare recommendations, your risk for complications is low.
Including Your Dentist in Gum Disease Prevention
It’s easy to see the benefit of involving your dentist in your oral health when it comes to catching something like gum disease before it turns dangerous. But an often overlooked benefit of seeing your dentist is the education you can get.
Not sure what the best brush is for your mouth or which floss you should use? Our team can help you get all the information you need to keep your mouth clean and prevent gum disease. Contact us at Skypointe Dental today to make an appointment with one of our dentists.