When people consider the pleasing, cosmetic appearance of their smile, the first thing they usually think about is their teeth. While good tooth structure is essential for a healthy smile, the gums are just as vital. Having healthy gums helps protect and support your teeth, but if gum disease strikes, it can jeopardize the health of your entire mouth.
Understanding gum disease
The best treatment for gum disease is prevention, but if that fails, it’s important to understand what gum disease is and the different stages of the disease. Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gums caused by a buildup of oral bacteria in the mouth. The three different stages of gum disease are:
- Gingivitis – Earliest stage of gum disease with symptoms including bleeding, swollen, discolored and sore gums, bad breath and gum recession
- Periodontitis – Second stage of gum disease with symptoms including more severe gingivitis symptoms, loose teeth, misalignment, and tooth decay below the gum line
- Advanced Periodontitis – Most severe stage of gum disease with symptoms including more serious periodontitis symptoms, jawbone infection and tooth loss
To avoid the advancing stages of gum disease, patients need to visit the dentist as soon as they notice any of the symptoms listed above. The earlier the dentist detects and treats gum disease, the better chance there is of avoiding more severe symptoms that can lead to tooth loss.
Preventing gum disease
Preventing gum disease is easy, as it requires good dental hygiene practices such as brushing twice daily, flossing daily and visiting the dentist at least every six months. To improve your oral health further, consider brushing and flossing after meals or using a mouth rinse.
Treating gum disease
The primary goal in treating gum disease is to control and heal the infection in the gums. For early stages of gum disease, the dentist often prescribes an antibacterial or antiseptic rinse. In more advanced stages of gum disease, the dentist may also prescribe antibiotics to clear up the infection. When gum disease causes damage to the soft and hard tissues in the mouth, the dentist may have to perform restorative procedures including gum grafting to treat gum recession and scaling and root planing to remove the buildup of plaque and tartar. When gum disease leads to tooth loss, dentists can use dental bridges, dentures or implants to replace missing teeth.
When you have concerns about the health of your teeth and gums or need tips on protecting your oral health, contact Greater Baltimore Prosthodontics to set up an appointment. Preventing gum disease is the best way to maintain a healthy smile, but we offer various solutions for the different stages of gum disease.CONTACT OUR OFFICE TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT