What Is Gum Disease and How Is It Treated?

Maintaining healthy gums is critical to your oral and overall health. Periodontal or gum disease is a progressive condition that affects more than 75% of adults and continues to be the leading cause of tooth loss. At Blue Bridge Dental, we offer preventive services and gum disease treatment tailored to your unique needs. Our goal is to keep your gums and teeth healthy for a lifetime!

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum or periodontal disease is a chronic condition affecting the structures holding the teeth in place, including the gums, bone, and connective tissues. It usually develops as a result of poor oral hygiene practices over time. When plaque is not removed by daily brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings, it hardens to tartar, leading to gum irritation and inflammation. Other risk factors for gum disease include natural aging, uncontrolled diabetes, smoking, tooth misalignment, genetic predisposition, and hormonal changes.

What Are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?

Symptoms of gum disease include the following:

Bad breath that won’t go away

  • Bad breath that won’t go away
  • Red, puffy, bleeding, or tender gums
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Painful biting and chewing
  • Gum recession resulting in longer-looking teeth
  • Changes in how the fit teeth together
  • Loose teeth and tooth loss

How Does Gum Disease Progress?

The early stage of gum disease, known as gingivitis, is usually characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums. Prompt treatment is highly successful and can fully reverse the condition because, at this point, no permanent damage occurs to the connective tissues and the bone supporting the teeth.

If not treated, gingivitis can advance to periodontitis, a serious and destructive condition. The gums will pull away from the teeth, leaving spaces called periodontal pockets. The gums also start to recede, resulting in longer-looking teeth, and the bones supporting the teeth begin to deteriorate. In advanced cases of gum disease, significant bone loss occurs, often leading to loose teeth, tooth loss, or the need for extraction.

Diagnostic Saliva Testing

Blue Bridge Dental offers diagnostic saliva testing to detect specific strains of bacteria linked to periodontal disease. Depending on individual results, we may recommend custom treatment protocols to target and eradicate these bacteria to safeguard your oral health.

Aside from maintaining a healthy smile, combating these harmful bacteria will reflect on your overall health. Studies show a link between periodontal bacteria and serious health concerns, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, pregnancy complications, and more. Saliva screening is a valuable tool that helps detect these destructive pathogens early on, lowering the risk of gum disease and enhancing your oral and overall health.

How Is Gum Disease Treated?

If you are diagnosed with gum disease, we may recommend a deep cleaning, a procedure known as scaling and root planing. Using manual and ultrasonic techniques, we remove plaque and tartar from beneath your gum line. We also smooth your tooth root surfaces, lowering the risk of reattachment of periodontal bacteria. We offer topical or injected anesthetics for your comfort.

Scaling and root planing helps the gum tissues heal and tighten around the teeth, preventing the gum inflammation and infection from progressing. In some advanced cases, we may refer you to a specialist for more involved treatments.

After treatment, we typically recommend recall visits every 3-4 months. We will clean your teeth and evaluate your gum health. You will also need to maintain meticulous oral hygiene practices at home, including regular brushing and flossing. Periodontal disease treatment aftercare is critical to maintaining your gum health.

Gum Disease Treatment Near Me in Allendale, MI

Contact Blue Bridge Dental to learn more about gum disease prevention, treatment, and management. Our team is committed to maintaining long-term healthy smiles. We invite you to call our office at 616-217-3992 to schedule your appointment or request one online today!