Our Grande Prairie dentist, Dr. Smith, explains what gum disease is and how you can help prevent and treat it.
What is gum disease?
Gum (or periodontal) disease is an infection of the tissues of the teeth, including the gums, gingiva, alveolar bone, cementum, and the periodontal ligament.
It is typically caused by poor oral hygiene habits that allow plaque to build up on the teeth and harden, eventually affecting the gums.
Is gum disease common?
Unfortunately, gum disease is a very common dental problem. It is difficult to detect when it first starts to develop, and many patients only begin to notice symptoms when they have progressed past the early stages. That is why it is so important to prevent gum disease before it becomes serious.
How do I know if I have it?
Only your dentist can diagnose gum disease. If you are experiencing any symptoms, please make an appointment as soon as possible.
In early the stages, your gums may be a bit red. As the condition gets more serious, tiny pockets of infection may form causing your gums to swell and bleed.
In its most advanced form, the infection will destroy the gum tissue and can even lead to tooth loss.
How can I prevent it?
Keeping your teeth and gums clean is the best way to prevent gum disease. Be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day to protect your oral health.
In addition to your oral care routine at home, be sure to see your dentist regularly for professional checkups and cleanings. At these appointments your dentist will be able to detect early signs of gum disease and provide the appropriate treatment.
How can I treat it?
If your dentist does detect signs of gum disease, there is a variety of options for treatment.
If you're in the early stages of gum disease, you may receive non-surgical therapy. This is essentially a deep cleaning where your dental hygienist scrapes plaque and tartar from around your gums.
For patients with more advanced forms of gum disease, more invasive surgical treatment may be necessary and your dentists may refer you to a Periodontist.
Once your gum treatment is complete, it is important to attend regular dental hygiene appointments and to maintain good oral hygiene habits at home to keep your gum disease under control.