Gum disease starts slowly revealing itself in forms of soft, tender, swollen, red gums that bleed easily, sensitivity to hot or cold drinks, and toothache and if left untreated, advance very fast causing cavities, badly decayed teeth, receding gums, tooth loss and bad breath.
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The most annoying thing is that apart from the initial alert of toothache and sensitivity, the other form of the infection tend to advance very quickly and with no pains. This might fool you to believe you are safe to later realize that your gums are infected unless your dentist confirms not.
Types of Gum Disease
There are 2 types of gum disease: Gingivitis (the earliest stage) and Periodontitis (the advanced form of gum infection). They are all treatable. Nothing to worry about, for whatever reasons you acquire the disease; do not let it steal your joy and limit your body from fully functioning.
Now let’s explore these gum diseases, one by one.
Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease caused by buildup plaque and tartar that attack soft tissues around the teeth causing inflamed gums that bleed easily when brushing. It can be reversed (more about this below).
You can know if you have gingivitis by simply brushing your teeth and gums, if you often see blood stains while brushing, high chance that you have it. You can also check if you have red, inflamed swollen gums or if your teeth pain when eating or drinking hot or cold food and drinks. You can also know through routine dental checkup, your doctor will let you know if you have it and suggest ways to reverse it.
What to Do If You Have Gingivitis
If you have gingivitis, observing good oral hygiene will reverse it. This includes:
- Brushing your teeth and gums twice a day using a soft toothbrush
- Change toothbrush head or toothbrush every 3 to 4 months time
- Floss once a day
- Don’t forget to clean your tongue
- Use mouthwash to help reduce dental plaque
- Eat balanced food
- Attends dental checkup, twice a year
- Stop smoking
How Do Dentist Cure Gingivitis
The dentist cures gingivitis by first examine the root cause of it, measuring pocket depth between your teeth and gums to see if they are deeper than 3 millimetres, take x-rays to find out how far the infection is. If the disease has advanced, you will be referred to the gum doctor, otherwise, you will be treated through scaling and root planning technique. This is a professional non-surgical routine to getting rid of gingivitis through deep cleaning build up plaque and tartar using traditional dentist tools or laser or an ultrasonic device.
After deep cleaning, you will be free from gingivitis within days or weeks as long as you continue taking good care of your teeth through brushing, flossing, rinsing with mouthwash and attending dental checkup. You will be given antibiotics and some other medication to help the healing process and control infection.
Periodontitis is an advanced form of gum disease caused by untreated gingivitis bacteria deeply penetrated below gum line attacking teeth supporting bones. It is a common disease with 47% US population over 30 years age having a chronic part of it. The best part of it is that it can be stopped from getting worse. It is treatable but not cured meaning that if you return to not taking care of your teeth as recommend it might re-occur. With it comes to cost and frequently dentist checkup, at least after every three months time instead of normal 6 months routine.
The periodontal disease starts first in the form of gingivitis, where buildup bacteria attack the gums surrounding the teeth making them start pulling themselves from the teeth. As gums start to recede, these bacteria penetrate deeper and deeper deepening the space between teeth and gums. As they continue their journey in, they start attacking the supporting bones causing cavities, sensitivity and tooth loss in the long run. Bacteria in these spaces are hard to remove by home oral care routines; you need dentist intervention to remove them.
How to Know If You Have Periodontal Disease
You can easily know if you have periodontal disease by assessing both your teeth and gums: If you notice that the space between your teeth and gums have increased causing your teeth to look a little bit longer than how they used to be, or your teeth are loose and fall or crack un-necessarily, or have cavities sensitive teeth, or bad breath (halitosis) then there is a 99.9% chance that you have periodontitis. To confirm this, make an appointment with your dentist for further checkup and assurance.
What to Do If You Have Periodontal Disease
Periodontitis can only be treated with dental professionals. There are some natural ways of treating it, like through ‘oil pulling’ but not scientifically proven. The best easy and quick way is to visit your dentist for further check and deep cleaning.
The deep cleaning also called scaling and root planing is a non-surgical procedure for treating periodontal disease. Your dentist will use a scaler to scrap build up tartar above and below the gum line.
If after deep cleaning, you still have signs of infection, you will be referred to the periodontist for completely removal of bacteria attacking your teeth. This will be done through a surgical procedure called ‘gum graft surgery’. It involves taking tissues from the roof of your mouth or nearby gums and implant it to the damaged area. You can also be subjected to ‘flap surgery’ that involves lifting up your gums to remove calculus under your gum line, and then stitch the area back. No pains during surgery as your doctor will numb the area before surgical treatment.
Cost of Periodontal Cleaning
Depending on the depth of the disease, the number of affected teeth bones, your location, and how many experts will be involved and much more you will pay between $1000 and $4000. Consult your dentist to see what they offer.
Dr. Tom Bell has a PhD in Medical Anthropology. He has a keen interest in oral health topics and is the founder of dentalrave. He has been an oral health researcher and electric toothbrush enthusiast for over 10 years. When not talking about dental hygiene and gadgets, Tom likes spending time outdoors hiking.