Gum disease is one of the most frequent dental issues, and one of the primary causes of gum disease is improper oral hygiene. Inflammation brought on by gum disease may be completely painless but can do significant harm to the connection of the gums and bone to the teeth. It is highly possible to have infected gums yet not exhibit any symptoms. This is very feasible.
What is Gum Disease?
Most individuals become aware that they have gum disease when the tissues surrounding the teeth (gums) become bright red, bleed easily, inflamed or swollen, or any combination of these symptoms. Plaque, formed in the mouth due to stray bits of food combined with bacteria and saliva, is the primary cause of gum disease. If not eliminated, plaque adheres to the teeth’s surfaces and will continue spreading throughout the mouth. Suppose plaque is not destroyed by brushing and flossing as directed regularly. In that case, it will eventually harden and develop into tartar, which creates an excellent surface for the formation and buildup of further plaque.
Tartar is complicated to remove with regular brushing and flossing, and its continued growth can lead to further irritation of the gums (also known as gingivitis). As plaque grows under the gum line, your body begins an immune response to combat the invading plaque and tartar (similar to your body’s reaction when you cut your finger). This response can inadvertently damage the underlying jawbone that supports your tooth. This bone destruction is called periodontitis. The beginning stages of periodontitis are mildly symptomatic.
Causes Gum Disease
Gum disease primarily develops due to poor oral hygiene from neglected brushing and flossing. As bacteria naturally accumulate in the mouth’s soft tissues, it forms a sticky film on the surface of the teeth that daily brushing helps eliminate. However, when this plaque grows, it can harden and transform into tartar, which can no longer be removed by brushing the teeth. Tartar can only be treated through professional cleaning by a dental hygienist.
As bacteria spreads, the gums will start to feel sore or swollen. Eventually, a pocket may form between the teeth and gums, loosening the teeth and leaving the oral soft tissues vulnerable to infection. Several factors can increase the risk of periodontal disease, including smoking, diabetes, genetic predisposition, hormonal changes (often caused by pregnancy), and certain medications that may decrease saliva production. Smoking is the most universal component that can increase the risk of gum disease, with smokers typically developing periodontal concerns at twice the rate of non-smoking patients.
How Periodontal Disease First Appears
When you don’t wash your teeth before night, do you ever wonder what causes that slimy, sticky film to form? That film is called plaque, consisting of food debris, dead gum tissue, and microorganisms that naturally inhabit your mouth. Plaque may build up on your teeth, particularly in the spaces between them and other hard-to-reach areas, such as beneath your gums and around crowns and fillings, if not removed regularly.
Plaque irritates and inflames gums if not eliminated. Inflamed gums may bleed, swell, and discolor without pain. Inflammation increases while plaque stays on your gums, particularly if you have one of the risk factors below. Inflammation pulls gum tissue away from the tooth root, creating a “pocket” where plaque grows closer to the bone. Regular dental cleaning may not reach plaque behind the gums. Like barnacles on a boat, it hardens and must be scraped off the tooth root.
As this process continues, your immune system produces more robust molecules to remove this hazardous plaque. Periodontitis occurs when inflammation spreads to the bone behind the gums and may loosen and kill a tooth without pain. The body would rather have the tooth extracted than risk the infection spreading to the jawbone and circulation.
Inflammation and bone loss in the jaw may occur even if you practice meticulous at-home dental care if you have any of the risk factors for gum disease. Because of this, pocketing and bone loss may progress considerably more rapidly than in healthy individuals.
Gum Disease Treatment Options
Patients of an emergency dentist in San Diego who are experiencing gum disease might choose from many different treatments.
After thoroughly numbing the region, a dental instrument removes any traces of plaque and calculus from the teeth and their roots. “Scaling and root planing” is the dental term for this procedure. Inflammation subsides, the pocket heals, and gum tissue reattaches to the teeth after plaque and calculus are eliminated.
“Gum” Surgery, or Periodontology
Deep cleaning alone may not be sufficient if the inflammation has extended too far and the germs have worked their way beneath the gum or into a tiny hiding spot in the root itself. To finish the cleansing procedure, minimal gum surgery may be necessary. Gum tissue is carefully retracted from the tooth root, revealing any harmful germs and facilitating their easy removal. Patients of the San Diego emergency dentist who suffer from gum disease may have significant recession of the gums due to the bone loss that accompanies the condition. Bone grafting and regeneration using stem cell technology may be an alternative in treating gum disease if significant bone loss has occurred.
Ensuring the gum disease doesn’t return after treatment is essential for long-term oral health. Plaque may cause inflammation to recur in patients with gum disease at any moment, even after extensive treatment. That’s why people with gum disease need to keep up with their periodontal care regularly to avoid another outbreak.
Different Stages Of Periodontal Disease?
Gum disease usually progresses in three stages. It is typically the case that the earlier bacteria buildup is addressed, the higher the likelihood of successful treatment using minimally invasive techniques. The different forms of periodontal disease include:
- Gingivitis: As the earliest phase of gum disease, gingivitis typically causes mild redness and swelling of the gums while the teeth remain firmly in position, as bacteria has not yet penetrated the bone or connective tissue. This is the form of gum disease experienced most commonly by patients. Gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease, often has no apparent symptoms, thus underscoring the need for regular dental cleanings by a trained expert.
- Periodontitis: When left to accumulate, disease-causing bacteria will begin to penetrate the bone and supportive tissue keeping the teeth in place. This can cause separation of the gum tissue from the gum line, creating a pocket where bacteria, plaque, and tarter can continue to gather.
- Advanced periodontitis: Eventually, untreated periodontitis can deepen the pocket between the gums and teeth, destabilizing the tooth and causing a recession of your natural jawbone. This often leads to tooth loss and the development of other complications as the infection continues to spread. In the advanced stages of gum disease, minimally invasive treatments are typically ineffective, and more advanced techniques are necessary to cleanse the mouth’s soft tissues.
Gum Disease Treatment in San Diego
The first step in any gum disease treatment is to determine if any lifestyle factors can contribute to the disease and curb those habits immediately. For example, smoking is a risk factor for gingivitis, so anyone diagnosed with gum disease should quit immediately. Other risk factors can include but are not limited to diabetes, aging, genetics, stress, inadequate nutrition, puberty, hormonal fluctuations, pregnancy, substance abuse, HIV infection, and possible medication use.
The removal of plaque and tartar, which have accumulated around the teeth over time, is the following stage. This may involve a deep cleaning to clean underneath the gum line. Once the cleaning is complete, a reevaluation is performed one month later to determine whether a patient can maintain their gum health by vigorous brushing and flossing and regular hygiene visits with the dentist.