Gum disease is a progressive bacterial infection that compromises the health and function of the smile. As gum disease progresses, patients become at risk for tooth and bone loss. A mostly preventable disease, routine dental checkups can allow for the effective management of disease-causing bacteria. In addition to restorative dentistry options, we provide gum disease treatment options.
Periodontal Therapy in Plano, TX
Dr. Grapevine provides comprehensive periodontal therapy treatments for gum disease. Our Plano, TX, dental care team, implements a personalized approach to treating periodontal disease for long-term and effective treatment.
Treating Gum Disease
Early detection and treatment of periodontal disease can prevent further damage to the teeth, gums, and jaw. Biannual dental health exams at our Plano, TX, dentist office include a thorough screening for signs of gum disease. When caught as gingivitis, thorough dental cleaning of the teeth and gums is often enough to remove harmful bacteria.
Twice yearly dental cleanings in combination with good at-home oral hygiene can help to keep your teeth and gums healthy long term.
Left untreated, gum disease will begin to cause a series of related oral and systemic health concerns. Advanced gum disease causes the gums to swell. Once the gums are inflamed, they separate from the teeth and recede.
A receding gum line could cause the shifting or loss of the teeth. Many patients who do not treat their gum disease experience bone deterioration and facial regression.
Recent studies show ties between gum disease and a patient’s systemic health. Patients with gum disease are at a higher risk for heart attacks, cardiovascular disease, strokes, and even diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Stages of Gum Disease
If you ever notice that your gums begin to bleed, feel tender, or are swollen, schedule a consultation with Dr. Grapevine as soon as possible. These symptoms are often signs that gum disease has already begun to spread. Halitosis, sensitivity, and loose teeth are also common signs of gingivitis.
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, and the only one that’s reversible. If you aren’t properly taking care of your oral health, plaque and tartar builds up on your teeth, harboring harmful bacteria. When this occurs at the gumline, bacteria inflame and irritate the gum tissue. The gums become a bit swollen and red, and are more likely to bleed. Many people don’t even realize that they have gingivitis because the symptoms aren’t painful. Bleeding is the main warning sign.
We treat this stage with more diligent oral healthcare. Ensure that you’re brushing and flossing regularly when you’re at home. We’ll also have you come into the office more frequently than normal for professional cleanings. We may also prescribe you an antimicrobial mouth rinse to assist with lowering the number of harmful bacteria in your mouth.
Mild Periodontal Disease
At this stage, we can only manage the condition. It’s no longer reversible. The bacteria become more aggressive, and start attacking jawbone structure. This slowly leads to bone loss in the jawbone. We use scaling and root planing to manage the disease at this stage. Pockets form between the gum tissue and your bone, filling with bacteria and debris. We clean out those gum pockets and smooth down the tooth roots so that the gum tissue reattaches to bone.
Moderate Periodontal Disease
The bacteria continue to become more aggressive in this stage. In addition to bone, the bacteria get in the bloodstream, causing infection and inflammation throughout other areas of your body. As with mild periodontal disease, we manage the condition in this stage with scaling and root planing.
Severe Periodontal Disease
At this stage, the disease has completely evolved. Your gums ooze pus and blood, you have severe bad breath that you can’t manage, and it can hurt to chew and speak. The tissue and bones are being attacked, destroying the foundation for your teeth, so they can loosen and fall out. Only laser gum therapy and gum surgery are effective at this stage. If we can’t manage the condition, we’ll refer you to a trusted local periodontist.
Common Risk Factors for Gum Disease
You may be more likely to develop gum disease symptoms for various reasons. Knowing your risks of developing an infection like gum disease can help you take the necessary steps to take control of your oral health. Some of the most common risk factors for gum disease include:
If you smoke cigarettes or use tobacco products, you may be at risk of infection. The nicotine within tobacco products can slow down your body’s immune response. Your immune system can help fight off infection. If this system is slow to react to an infection, it can be more difficult for your gums to heal.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Brushing and flossing are more important than you may think. A good oral hygiene routine can remove food debris from the teeth and gums that attract harmful bacteria. These bacteria feed on leftover sugars and starches and create digestive acids that irritate and inflame the gums.
If you don’t floss enough, you may notice your gums bleed when you brush. Bleeding gums are an early sign of gum inflammation. Flossing before brushing can reverse gingivitis if you have no other symptoms. Beginning a more thorough oral hygiene routine that includes brushing and flossing twice daily can help fight gum disease.
Antihistamines, anti-inflammatory drugs, blood pressure medications, and many more types of medications can increase the likelihood of developing gum disease. Because these medications are integral to your health, making regular dental visits and caring for your smile at home is important.
Diabetes, heart disease, and other systemic health problems can greatly increase the risk of developing gum disease. If you have diabetes and encounter high blood sugar, harmful bacteria can grow because of the glucose levels in your saliva. Additionally, if you have chronic heart problems, you may be more affected by gum disease. Harmful bacteria can travel through the bloodstream and increase heart vessel inflammation.
Sometimes, you can’t control your risk of dental problems. As you age, your immune system changes. This means that infections can occur faster and take longer to heal. Gum disease is no exception. As you age, you may be more at risk of gum disease, so routine visits and examinations are integral to your health.
Did you know that you can develop gingivitis if you are pregnant? Hormonal changes and inflammation are linked. Estrogen and progesterone increase blood flow to the gums. This may seem beneficial, but this blood flow can increase sensitivity and irritation in the gum tissue. Women undergoing menopause, puberty, or periods may also notice increased gum sensitivity and irritation due to hormone changes. The good news is that it is safe for you to visit the dentist, even if you are pregnant.
If you are pregnant and noticing early signs of gum disease, please visit our office for preventative care. We recommend dental cleanings during pregnancy to reduce the chance of gum inflammation from becoming gum disease. The only dental care we will not recommend for our pregnant patients is elective procedures.
What To Expect: Periodontal Disease Treatment Options
Our Plano dentist office offers comprehensive treatment for gum disease. We treat both the cause of the disease and restore any damage that may have occurred. Our dentist in Plano, TX, encourages children and adults to visit the dentist once every six months so that we can monitor the progression of their oral health.
Scaling & Root Planing
Scaling & root planing is an intensive cleaning procedure that accesses the deep pockets of the gums. Dr. Grapevine can remove disease-causing bacteria from all surfaces of the teeth and gums. Once the gums are clear of bacteria, they have time to heal. Dr. Grapevine may recommend supplementing your procedure with PerioScineces products to manage bacteria growth between dentist office visits.
PerioSciences for Gum Disease
PerioSciences products are specially designed to reduce inflammation and prevent the development of gum disease. Powered by antioxidants, PerioSciences products promote salvia production and combat disease-causing bacteria.
The antioxidants found in PerioSciences products enhance the natural anti-bacterial agents naturally present in human saliva. PerioSciences helps prevent the development of gum disease by keeping oral bacteria balanced. For patients who struggle with gum disease, PerioSciences can be combined with additional periodontal therapy to keep gums and teeth healthy and clean between dental cleanings.
Periodontal Therapy FAQs
If my gums bleed, does that mean I have gum disease?
You may be brushing and flossing too vigorously. Try a more gentle approach next time you brush. If you have any questions about better brushing or flossing techniques, never hesitate to ask your dentist or a member of our dental care team. If your gums bleed on a regular basis, you most likely have developed gum disease. Bleeding gums are not normal and are one of the most noticeable signs of gum disease.
Is gum disease reversible?
If gum disease is caught while in the gingivitis stage, your dentist may be able to prevent further damage to the teeth and gums. Our dental care team will remove the disease-causing bacteria from the oral cavity to allow the gums to heal. Patients who practice diligent oral hygiene have a good chance of maintaining their healthy smiles.
Patients with advanced gum disease may need additional dental treatments to fully restore their smiles. Patients prone to gum disease may consider visiting the dentist more than twice a year for professional teeth cleanings.
Can my child get gum disease?
Yes. Gum disease is a growing oral health and systemic health concern in patients of all ages. Preventative dental care is the best way to prevent gum disease in children and adults. It is important that your child begins brushing and flossing at least twice a day from an early age. Children should visit the dentist by the age of 1 or as soon as their first teeth begin to emerge.