If you experience pain, bleeding, or swelling in your gums generally or when you brush or floss your teeth, you should see your dentist right away. These are all symptoms of gum disease. You should know that it is not normal for your gums to bleed and is in fact indicative of an infection. Periodontal disease is preventable and treatable.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Although individuals may experience different symptoms, below is a list of the most common symptoms to look out for.
- Red gums
- Bleeding gums
- Painful gums
- Recessed teeth
- Moving teeth
- Teeth sensitivity
- Bad breath
- Losing teeth
You may experience one or all of these symptoms. If you suffer from any of these you may need to schedule an appointment with Dr. McCash, Dr. Botero, or Dr. Reyes to have a periodontal disease screening and evaluation. Following your exam, one of our dentists will speak with you about your oral health and recommend the necessary steps and treatment that need to be taken in order to maintain your dental health and avoid tooth loss.
Gum Disease and Overall Health
Modern medicine has shown that our dental health is directly linked to our overall health. Gum disease can be linked to:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory disease
There are also some studies that discuss a possible relationship between periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s disease and periodontal disease and pre term low birth weight babies.
Periodontal disease is best treated with prevention. Visiting Gulfside Dental is your best defense against preventing gum disease. When periodontal disease is ignored or left untreated, you could require tooth extraction, tooth replacements, or gum grafting.
Treating Periodontal Disease
Change in Behavior
One treatment our office may suggest is a simple behavior change. As dental plaque is the main culprit behind gum disease, you may be required to begin thoroughly removing the plaque daily. Some helpful tools for this are interproximal brushes (look like little bottle brushes), soft picks and Waterpik or Airflosser. Other behavioral changes may include quitting smoking, avoiding hard or gummy foods, and controlling blood sugar and heart disease (if not already controlled). Creating healthy oral habits are key to maintaining long term gum health.
Even regular cleaning of your dental plaque at home may not be enough to completely prevent periodontal disease. One of our dentists will ensure you receive a deep cleaning in the office to remove the deposits of plaque called calculus or tartar. The cleaning of calculus in our dental office is called “scaling” which is typically a painless procedure. Normally we get our patients numb prior to the scaling to make them comfortable during the procedure. Sometimes as an adjunct therapy, we place antibiotics in deep gum pockets when we do not see an improvement after scaling. This antibiotic is called minocycline and the brand used is Arestin®.
Generally, patients with periodontal disease require teeth cleanings every 3 months. The bacterium that causes periodontal disease re-establishes its destructive process in 90 days. A three month periodontal maintenance is critically timed to disable the destructive process before it can begin again.
Gum Disease Evaluation
Following your initial treatments our team of great hygienists and Dr. McCash or Dr. Botero will evaluate the efficacy of treatments like behavioral treatments and tartar removal. In mild cases your gums may have healed to an acceptable degree. You will likely be recommended to frequently checkup at our office. In more severe cases it might become necessary to see a periodontist, who specializes in gum treatments.
As stated above, gum disease can result in loose or destabilized teeth. To treat at‐risk teeth, there is occlusal bite therapy. Bite therapy may include orthodontic tooth movement, grinding of the tooth surfaces by a dental professional and/or occlusal guard therapy. Along with addressing teeth affected by gum disease, this treatment also addresses a habit of grinding or clenching teeth.
When your gums aren’t responsive to other forms of periodontal treatment, surgical treatment may be the only treatment available. Modern periodontal surgeries encompass both cosmetic and traditional surgery techniques. These include techniques that help repair both soft and hard tissue along with the replacement of missing teeth with dental implants.
If you think you may have periodontal disease or may be at risk, don’t hesitate to contact the dentists at Gulfside Dental by calling (239) 774‐3017 or using our online contact form to schedule an appointment.