Gum (periodontal) disease is caused by plaque, which is a bacteria that builds up on your teeth and creates toxins. These toxins affect the gum tissue and bones surrounding the teeth.
While it may be painless and grow slowly at first, gum disease can have serious consequences. Not only could you lose your teeth, but because gum health interconnects with many other aspects of oral and physical health, this infection can put you at risk for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. This is why it's essential not to let gum disease progress into its more serious stages.
Kinds of Gum Disease
Here are the types of gum disease:
Gingivitis is gum disease in its earliest stage. At this point, your gums can become sensitive, red, and swollen, and you may spot blood on your toothbrush or when you floss.
Periodontitis is the more serious form of gum disease. At this stage, your gums recede and bacteria eventually fills the pockets between your teeth and gums. Light to moderate bone loss in the jaw can also occur.
Teeth lose support as your gums, bone, and periodontal ligament break down. Moderate to severe bone loss in your jaw may occur, and your teeth can become loose or fall out.
How to Care For & Maintain Your Gum Health
While gum disease can have scary outcomes, most cases can be prevented with good oral hygiene and regular checkups. Here’s what you can do at home and how your dentist can help:
Keeping Your Gums Healthy At Home
- See your dentist regularly and let them know about any changes, gum sensitivity or soreness
- Floss once per day
- Brush at least twice daily
- Rinse thoroughly with an alcohol-free anti-gingivitis mouthwash
How Your Dentist Can Help Your Gums
Your dentist provides professional cleanings and tracks your oral health so any problems can be spotted early.
They’ll ask if you’ve noticed any changes or sensitivity in your gums, whether you’ve been following your regular oral care routine, and can answer any questions you may have about oral hygiene and care.
Gum Disease Treatments
At Riverside Family Dentistry, we offer a variety of options to help you maintain healthy gums, and prevent and treat gum disease which might include:
To treat early-stage gum disease, we recommend frequent hygiene appointments, deep cleanings, and specialized home care routines.
This surgical procedure thickens gums, protects against the damaging effects of gum recession, and can help change the appearance of your smile.
Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation Surgery
The Chao Pinhole® Surgical Technique is a scalpel-free, suture-free way to treat gum recession. A dentist uses a needle to make a small hole in the patient’s existing gum tissue, through which they use special instruments to gently loosen the gum tissue. The gumline is gently adjusted to cover the exposed root structure.
Teeth & Gum Contouring
These cosmetic procedures can help alter your smile’s overall aesthetics. Teeth contouring involves using a dental drill to shave away excess tooth material and reshaping chipped, uneven, or poorly aligned teeth, while excess gum tissue is removed to contour or lift gums.