Periodontal Disease: Symptoms and Treatments
Spot the early warning signs of gum disease so you can seek proper care from your dentist.
Millions of adults in the US have some degree of gum disease. Some don’t even know it. Since it’s possible to have gum disease and not even notice, this is one of the main reasons why you shouldn’t skip out on those routine dental checkups with our West Columbia, SC, family dentists Drs. Peter and Brooke Stoltz. As with any disease, the sooner gum disease is identified and treated, the better.
What are the stages of gum disease?
There are two main stages associated with gum disease. The first and earliest stage is known as gingivitis. If gum disease is detected by our West Columbia, SC, family dentists during this initial stage it can be reversed. If gingivitis isn’t detected, it will progress into periodontal disease.
If you have been avoiding the dentist, or you don’t see your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups, it’s very possible that symptoms will go unnoticed until more advanced stages of gum disease have set in.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Symptoms and signs of gingivitis are often subtle, becoming more noticeable as it advances into periodontal disease. Signs of gingivitis include,
- Bleeding gums, especially when brushing and flossing
- Tender, swollen gums
- Red, inflamed gums
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
As gingivitis progresses into periodontal disease you may notice spaces or gaps between teeth and gums. You may even notice pus in these spaces. Eventually, as the pockets of infection grow larger, teeth will become loose and fall out.
How is gum disease treated?
There are several ways to treat gum disease and the treatments we recommend will depend on the severity of your gum disease. Ways to treat and even reverse gingivitis include,
- Brushing at least twice a day, but ideally after every meal
- Replacing your toothbrush head every 3-4 months
- Flossing every day
- Using an electric toothbrush
- Using a special antimicrobial mouthwash several times a day
- Eating a healthy diet
- Visiting our dentist more often for routine cleanings
With proper lifestyle changes and professional dental cleanings, gingivitis will usually go away. Of course, those with periodontal disease may require more aggressive treatment including,
- Scaling and root planing (a deep cleaning)
- Medicated mouthwashes
- Flap surgery
- Bone and tissue grafting
The health of your gums depends on you and how well you care for your smile. Along with maintaining good oral hygiene, it’s important that you are visiting our West Columbia, SC, family dentists every six months for checkups. Maintain healthy teeth and gums by turning to the team at Three Fountains Family Dental Inc. To schedule an appointment, call us at (803) 755-0039.