When you come to our Chandler dentist office, we always check for the signs of gum disease so that we can treat it before it reaches the advanced stages.
People often think of gum disease as being something that happens as we age, yet even older kids and teens can develop the earliest form called gingivitis.
During your exams, we will talk to you about your gum health and provide tips to keep them healthy.
What Are the Types of Gum Disease?
There are two main types of gum disease that can develop. These are gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the earliest form of the disease. During this stage, the gums begin to react to the bacteria in plaque and tartar that develop on the teeth with swelling and inflammation.
At this point, many people may not notice any problems other than some bleeding when they floss or brush their teeth. If this early stage is not treated, then it can progress to chronic periodontitis.
Once gingivitis advances to periodontitis, the risk of serious damage increases. At this stage, pockets begin to form and the gums can begin to recede. While tooth loss becomes possible as the gum disease advances, treatment now can still halt or even reverse the condition.
Are Certain People at Greater Risk for Gingivitis?
Everyone can develop gingivitis. In fact, we’ve even seen it in some of our younger patients. However, there are certain risk factors that make it even more essential to watch out for the signs of gum disease.
For instance, there is a condition called pregnancy gingivitis that can be controlled with proper care, so that the gums return to health after delivery. People who have health conditions that affect the blood flow to the gums, such as diabetes, are also more susceptible to developing gingivitis.
What Are the Signs of Gingivitis?
The earliest signs of gingivitis are subtle. You might notice that your gums lose their pink color and begin to turn red. They may be swollen around only one or two teeth or across the entire arch.
You might also notice some tenderness or an increase in bad breath. If you notice bleeding when you brush or floss, then mention it at your appointment. However, it is important to continue on with your oral hygiene routine since this prevents the gum disease from getting worse.
What Happens During an Exam?
During an exam, we use several methods to check for the signs of gum disease and identify which stage of progression it is in. We may use one or all of the following strategies to give you a diagnosis.
- Review your medical history
- Visual inspection of your teeth and gums
- Measure gum pockets
- Assess dental x-rays
What Treatment Options are Available?
Hearing that you show signs of gum disease during your appointment is disheartening, but we take a positive approach to restoring gum health. In many cases, we can improve gingivitis and early periodontitis with special cleanings.
Scaling and root planing helps to remove tartar and plaque below the gum line to reduce bacterial build up that irritates the tender gums. In some cases, we may also use special medications and recommend dental restorations that make it easier to clean around your teeth.
With proper professional care and some modifications to your oral hygiene routine, it is possible to enjoy better gum health.