Periodontal Gum Disease: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention
If your gums bleed when you brush your teeth, it may be a sign that they (your gums) are infected with bacteria. If not properly treated, the infection may spread to weaken the structures surrounding your gum. This damage or weakening of the structures around the gum is known as periodontal gum disease.
At the earliest stage, periodontal gum disease is commonly known as gingivitis, that is, swollen and bleeding gum caused by bacteria in dental plaque. If not treated at this stage, the disease advances to severe periodontal gum disease characterized by loose teeth and pains.
Though research has shown bacteria in plaque to be the major cause of periodontal gum disease, other factors such as an individual’s lifestyle, oral habits, health status, and genetic composition can also be contributory factors.
When visiting a dental clinic to determine whether you have gum disease or the stage of the infection, the first thing to expect is questions from the doctor to be able to review your medical history and lifestyle.
Secondly, the dentist or oral hygienist will check your mouth for tartar or plaque buildup and bleeding. He or she will also measure the pocket depth of the groove between your gums and the teeth as well as take X-rays.
Treatment Options For Periodontal Gum Disease
If the infection is still at the early stages, then, nonsurgical procedures are administered. The common procedures administered at this stage may include antibiotics prescription to help control the spread of the infection or eliminate the disease completely. This could be in the form of topical gels inserted between the gum and the teeth, mouth rinses, or oral antibiotics.
Another nonsurgical procedure may be the removal of tartar from the teeth surface and directly underneath the gum. This procedure is known as scaling. Root planning may also be used to smoothen the surface of the root so as to prevent further buildup of bacteria and tartar and quicken the healing process.
If during the X-ray it was discovered that the infection has entered an advanced stage, then, dental surgery may be the only treatment option.
One of the common surgical options is flap surgery as known as pocket reduction surgery. This is carried out to lift the back of the gum so that scaling or root planning can be performed effectively.
Another dental surgical option for advanced periodontal gum disease is tissue graft. This option is used when the bacteria infection has moved your gumline away from the supposed position. In this case, a small amount of tissue is extracted from your palate and attached to the affected area to cover the exposed gum and prevent further deterioration.
For more complicated cases, bone grafting can be performed to hold the tooth in place and prevent further loss of the bone surrounding the root of your tooth. A guided tissue regeneration procedure may also be carried out to help the regrowth of the bone.
To ensure a quicker healing process, a tissue-stimulating gel can be applied to the root of the infected tooth to encourage the regrowth of damaged tissues and bones.
Easy Ways to Prevent Your Gums from Being Infected
Periodontal gum disease can be prevented by visiting your dentist or dental clinic regularly. You are also expected to practice good oral hygiene and avoid lifestyles that can put you at risk such as smoking.