Know the basics
What is gum disease?
Gum disease, also called periodontitis, is a serious gum infection that can destroy your tissues and bone that support your teeth.
Periodontitis is usually the result of poor oral hygiene. Practice good dental care habits such as brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily and getting regular dental checkups can greatly reduce your risks of developing periodontitis.
Periodontitis may affect patients of any age, although management of the condition is possible.
The common symptoms of gum disease include:
- Swollen gums
- Bright red or purplish gums
- Gums that feel tender when touched
- Gums that pull away from your teeth (recede), making your teeth look longer than normal
- New spaces developing between your teeth
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Bad breath
- Bad taste in your mouth
- Loose teeth
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- Gums that bleed during and after tooth brushing
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor
Healthy gums are firm and pale pink. But they suddenly become puffy, dusky red and bleed easily. If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. However, everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
Diagnosis & Treatments
How is gum disease diagnosed?
During a dental exam, your dentist typically checks for these things:
- Gum bleeding, swelling, firmness
- Teeth movement and sensitivity and proper teeth alignment
- Your jawbone, to help detect the breakdown of bone surrounding your teeth
- Use a dental instrument to measure the pocket depth of the groove between your gums and your teeth
- Take dental X-rays to check for bone loss in areas where your dentist observes deeper pocket depths
How is gum disease treated?
If periodontitis isn’t advanced, treatment may involve less invasive procedures, including:
- Scaling. Scaling removes tartar and bacteria from your tooth surfaces and beneath your gums. It may be performed using instruments or an ultrasonic device.
- Root planting. Root planting smoothes the root surfaces, discouraging further tartar build-up and bacterial endotoxin.
- Antibiotics. Your dentist may recommend using topical or oral antibiotics to help control bacterial infection.
If your gum tissue does not respond to nonsurgical treatments and good oral hygiene, periodontitis treatment may require dental surgery, such as:
- Flap surgery (pocket reduction surgery). In this procedure, your dentist creates tiny incisions in your gum so that a section of gum tissue can be lifted back, exposing the roots for more effective scaling and root planting.
- Soft tissue grafts. Periodontal disease can cause your gum tissue loss. You may need to reinforce some of the damaged soft tissue. This method carries out by removing a small amount of tissue from the roof of your mouth (palate) or another donor source and attaching it to the affected site. This procedure can help reduce further gum gradually loss, cover exposed roots and give your teeth a more pleasing appearance.
- Bone grafting. When the bone which is surrounding your tooth root is damaged, bone grafting can be performed. The graft may be either small fragments of your own bone or the bone may be synthetic or donated. The bone grafting results in preventing your tooth loss by holding your tooth stably. It also serves as a platform for the new natural bone regrows.
- Guided tissue regeneration. This method can help regrow of bone that was destroyed by bacteria. In this method, your dentist places a special piece of biocompatible fabric between existing bone and your tooth. The material protects the healing area from unwanted tissue and allows the bone to grow back instead.
- Enamel matrix derivative application. Another technique involves put a special gel in a diseased tooth root. In this gel is the same proteins found in developing tooth enamel and stimulates the growth of healthy bone and tissue.
What causes gum disease?
Hormonal changes, such as pregnancy period, puberty, menopause, and monthly menstruation. Those are some stages can make gums more sensitive easier for gingivitis to develop.
- Illnesses. Some diseases such as cancer or HIV that interfere with the immune system or diabetes. Patients with this disease are at higher risk of developing infections, including periodontal disease and cavities.
- Medications. Because some medications can lessen the flow of saliva, which has a protective effect on teeth and gums. Some drugs, such as the anticonvulsant medication Dilantin and the anti-angina drug Procardia and Adalat, can cause abnormal growth of gum tissue.
- Bad habits such as smoking can cause gum tissue difficult to repair itself.
- Poor oral hygiene habits such as not brushing and flossing on a daily basis. It is much easier for gingivitis to develop.
- Family history of dental disease. This is a factor is considered for the development of gingivitis.
What increases my risk for gum disease?
There are many risk factors for gum disease, such as:
- Poor oral health habits
- Tobacco use
- Older age
- Decreased immunity, such as that occurring with leukemia, HIV/AIDS or chemotherapy
- Poor nutrition
- Certain medications
- Hormonal changes, such as those related to pregnancy or menopause
- Substance abuse
- Poor-fitting dental restorations
- Problems with the way your teeth fit together when biting
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage gum disease?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with gum and periodontal disease:
- Get regular professional dental cleanings, on a schedule recommended by your dentist.
- Use a soft toothbrush and replace it at least every three to four months.
- Consider using an electric toothbrush, which may be more effective at removing plaque and tartar.
- Brush your teeth twice a day or, better yet, after every meal or snack.
- Floss daily.
- Use a mouth rinse to help reduce plaque between your teeth.
- Interdental cleaning is also important, so you have to prepare some essential supplements for brushing or flossing.
Want to learn more about clinics & hospitals that offer Gum Disease treatment? Click here.
Need further help? Contact GO.CARE team to get more details from expert doctors and medical specialists.
GO.CARE does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease). http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/gingivitis-periodontal-disease#3. Accessed 12 Mar, 2017.
Periodontitis. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/periodontitis/basics/lifestyle-home-remedies/con-20021679. Accessed 12 Mar, 2017.