Understanding the Basics of Gum Disease and Treatment Options

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By TRU Dentistry Austin

Are you aware that your gums play a crucial role in maintaining good oral health? Well, they do! Unfortunately, gum disease is one of the most common dental problems globally and can lead to severe complications if left untreated. Periodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in studying and treating gum issues. In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about periodontics – from the basics of gum disease and treatment options to the importance it plays in ensuring excellent dental health. So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into why periodontics is essential for healthy gums!

What is Periodontics?

Periodontics is the branch of dentistry that focuses on the health of the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. Periodontists are dental specialists who have undergone advanced training in this field.

Periodontal disease is a common problem that can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. It is caused by the build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth, which leads to inflammation of the gums. Periodontitis is a more severe form of periodontal disease, which can destroy the bone and connective tissue that support the teeth.

Treatment for periodontal disease usually involves a combination of professional cleanings, at-home care, and sometimes surgery. Professional cleanings involve removing plaque and tartar from the teeth above and below the gum line. At-home care involves daily brushing and flossing, as well as using special mouthwashes or toothpaste. Surgery may be necessary in more severe cases to restore damaged tissue or to remove pockets of infection.

What Causes Gum Disease?

Many things can contribute to gum disease, but the most common cause is poor oral hygiene. Without regular brushing and flossing, plaque and tartar can build up on teeth and harden into calculus. This buildup irritates the gums, causing them to become inflamed. The inflammation leads to a breakdown of the attachment between the gum and tooth, creating pockets where bacteria can thrive. As the disease progresses, the gums recede and more bone is lost.

The Different Stages Of Gum Disease

Gum disease is an infection of the gums that can progress to affect the bone supporting the teeth. It is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth. Plaque constantly forms on our teeth, even after brushing and flossing. If plaque is not removed, it can harden into tartar, which is harder to remove.

The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. At this stage, the gums are red and swollen and may bleed when brushed or flossed. Gingivitis is reversible with good oral hygiene.

If gingivitis is not treated, it can progress to periodontitis. In periodontitis, the gums pull away from the teeth and form spaces (called “pockets”) that become infected. The bones and connective tissue that support the teeth can be destroyed. Periodontitis is not reversible, but it can be controlled with proper treatment.

Source – Sarah Sadek1

Treatment Options For Gum Disease

If you are one of the many people suffering from gum disease, you may be wondering what your treatment options are. While there is no cure for gum disease, there are ways to control it and prevent it from getting worse. The first step in treating gum disease is to visit a periodontist or dentist. They will be able to diagnose your specific case and determine the best course of action.

There are two main types of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease and can often be reversed with good oral hygiene habits and regular professional cleanings. Periodontitis is the more advanced stage of gum disease and can cause tooth loss if left untreated. Treatment for periodontitis typically includes deep cleanings, antibiotics, and sometimes surgery.

If you have gingivitis, your dentist may recommend that you brush and floss twice a day, use an antibacterial mouthwash, and have regular professional cleanings. These measures will help to control the infection and reduce inflammation. If you have periodontitis, your dentist will likely recommend deep cleanings (also called scaling and root planing). This procedure involves numbing your gums and then scraping off the plaque and tartar buildup beneath the gum line. You may also need to take antibiotics to control the infection. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove infected tissue or repair damaged bone.

How To Prevent Gum Disease?

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a serious infection of the gums and tissues that support your teeth. It can damage your gums, bones, and connective tissue, and eventually lead to tooth loss.

Fortunately, gum disease is preventable with good oral hygiene habits and regular visits to the dentist. Here are some tips to help you prevent gum disease:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles become frayed.
  • Use floss or an interdental cleaner to clean your teeth once a day.
  • Eat a balanced diet and limit sugary snacks and drinks.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking is a major risk factor for gum disease.
  • See your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups.

The Bottom Line

Periodontics is an important field of dentistry because it can help to keep your gums and teeth healthy. Understanding the basics of gum disease, the warning signs, and prevention methods are essential for maintaining good oral health. Knowing when it’s time to see a periodontist and what treatment options are available can also make a difference in your dental care routine. With regular visits to the dentist, proper oral hygiene habits, and quick action if you notice any changes in your mouth or gums, you can minimize the risk of gum disease and other issues that may lead to tooth loss or further dental problems.

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