When dentists discuss the importance of brushing, flossing, and regular checkups, patients often assume the education is to help them avoid tooth decay, cavities, and fillings. While good oral health habits will help patients avoid the sound of a dental drill, they also help patients avoid gum disease and the complications it can cause.
Dr. David Lamothe of Smyrna Dental helps his Smyrna, GA, patients learn more about gum disease, including the symptoms, causes, and treatments.
WHAT IS GUM DISEASE?
Gum disease occurs when the gums become infected. The symptoms of gum disease will escalate over time if untreated. The most common symptoms include:
- Bleeding gums: If you’ve noticed a little bit of ‘pink in the sink’ while brushing, you’re not alone. However, this is a sign that an infection is starting to invade your gums.
- Tenderness and inflammation: Gums that are infected will become sore and swollen.
- Bad breath: If you have persistent bad breath that won’t go away, it could be a sign of infection
- Teeth that appear longer: As gum disease progresses, it can cause the gums to recede, which leads to a change in appearance of the teeth.
- Loss of support: The gums and bone help to hold your teeth in place. If the disease progresses, it can lead to loss of the tooth or teeth.
TREATMENT FOR GUM DISEASE
Gum disease is often first diagnosed as gingivitis. This early stage of gum disease can be easily treated with better oral hygiene habits and use of mouthwash. If the gum disease progresses, it may require additional treatment, such as:
- Deep cleaning: Dental hygienists can use professional tools to clean below the gum line, removing bacteria and infection.
- Medication: In some cases, dentists will prescribe an antibiotic to ensure the infection is eliminated from the mouth and the body.
- Gum surgery: Advanced cases of gum disease may require gum surgery in which the gum is cut and lifted away so that the infection can be completely removed. Next the gums are sutured tightly back into place.
For more information about gum disease and treatments, call the Smyrna Dental at (678) 374-3764.
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