Healthier gums equal beautiful smiles. But left untreated, inflamed periodontal tissue can lead to more harmful and serious systemic health problems. Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, affects nearly 50 percent of adults at some point in their lives. Known as a “silent disease,” it can go unnoticed and untreated in the absence of routine dental care, and is a leading cause of tooth loss.
To effectively treat gum disease, many experienced dentists perform periodontal therapy to restore your oral health.
Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease
Recognizing the early signs of periodontal disease and infection is important. Treating gum disease early is often the key to successful treatment and avoiding permanent damage to the teeth and/or gums.
Common symptoms of gum disease include:
- Red, swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Receding gums
- Sensitive, irritated gums
- Persistent bad breath (halitosis)
- Changes in the fit of the bite or dentures
Stages of Gum Disease
There are two key stages of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Typically, patients don’t even realize they have gum disease until the later stages when their gums are significantly irritated or gum damage affects the teeth.
- Gingivitis. This early-stage gum disease is typically easy to treat but may require additional at-home care to prevent it from returning. Patients with recurrent gingivitis may benefit from more frequent professional dental cleanings.
- Periodontitis. This advanced gum disease can cause permanent damage to tissue and weaken the teeth. This often requires intensive treatment to address damage and restore oral health.
Studies consistently show the relationship between periodontal disease and an increased risk of developing or being more severely affected by cardiovascular and systemic diseases. But when caught early, periodontal therapy can be an effective remedy against future problems.
Periodontal Therapy and Treatment for Gum Disease in Alexandria
As gum disease progresses, it deepens the pockets between the teeth and the gums, pulling the gum tissue away from the teeth and exposing sensitive root structures. This can lead to pain, sensitivity, and loose teeth.
For gingivitis, periodontal therapy may include an intense cleaning process known as scaling and root planing to remove plaque and tartar along the gum line. Scaling and root planing are often sufficient to remove early infection and enable healing to occur.
More advanced cases of gum disease often require more invasive treatment to restore healthy gums. If you are at risk for developing gum disease or have persistent infection, periodontal treatment may include specific oral hygiene products such as antibacterial rinses to be used at home as part of your daily routine, along with recommendations for lifestyle modifications.