Gum disease affects more than half of all adult Americans, and many are unaware that they suffer from this condition at all. If left untreated, however, gum disease can result in premature tooth loss and a slew of other oral health conditions. If you think you may have gum disease, contact Urban Dental at (619) 696-0510 to get periodontal care in Downtown San Diego right away.
Gum disease is a preventable oral disease that is caused by improper oral hygiene. If you do not brush and floss properly and follow other recommendations for oral care, plaque and tartar will build up between your gums and your teeth.
The bacteria in plaque and tartar will eventually grow and start to attack your gum tissue. As your immune system tries to fend it off, your gums will swell, becoming tender and inflamed. If periodontal disease continues without treatment, it can eventually result in permanent, irreversible damage to your gums and support structures of your teeth.
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, and is reversible with proper care. Common signs include bleeding when brushing and flossing, gum tenderness and inflammation, and a discolored appearance.
If left untreated, gingivitis may progress into “periodontitis,” which is not reversible. It can be controlled with proper care, but never eliminated from your mouth. You may start to notice symptoms like gum recession, as well as pain and tenderness when chewing or eating, halitosis (bad breath), or a foul taste in your mouth.
The final stage of gum disease is “advanced periodontitis.” In this stage, irreversible damage has been done to your teeth, which may loosen, shift, and begin to fall out. You may also experience pus forming between your gums and teeth, and a change in your bite. Periodontal surgery or replacement of your teeth with dentures or dental implants is usually required to treat this condition, which makes it important to catch the disease early with regular dental visits.
Deep cleaning (scaling & root planing) is usually used for most mild to moderate cases of gum disease. Gum measurements are taken at your exam to determine what type of cleaning is recommended. In this process, Dr. Kim will clean the affected areas of your mouth over the course of two or more appointments. She will use specialized dental tools to scrape away plaque and tartar from between your teeth, and to scale the roots of your teeth to eliminate “pockets” of bacteria.
A soft tissue laser is used to disinfect the infected gums and promote new attachment and healing. Along with antibiotics and proper oral hygiene, this is often enough to resolve most cases of gum disease. Gum tissue does not heal overnight and will require maintenance cleanings initially every 3 month to ensure that the pockets resolve and the space around the gums improves.
More advanced cases, however, may require surgical treatment, such as gum flap surgery and gum grafting. Dr. Kim will thoroughly discuss all of your options with you at your consultation, and help make the best decision for your continued oral health.