Bleeding gums are very common, but they should not be ignored. It is usually a sign of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, or another underlying issue. Fortunately, periodontal disease can be easily reversed in its early stages. However, more severe forms of the condition can result in tooth loss and other issues. Your dentist in Park City shares everything you need to know about periodontal disease and what you can do to prevent it.
What is Periodontal Disease?
There are two different types of periodontal disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums. If left untreated, it can lead to periodontitis, which is a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue. Symptoms include:
- Swollen or puffy gums
- Tender gums
- Gum bleeding
- Pink-tinged toothbrush after brushing
- Bad breath
- Spitting out blood after brushing or flossing
- Painful chewing
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth or loss of teeth
How is Periodontal Disease Reversed?
Depending on the severity, dentists have several ways they can treat gum disease. Periodontal therapy includes both surgical and non-surgical techniques to restore health to the damaged tissues. These procedures include:
- Scaling and root planning: This is like a routine dental cleaning except it’s solely focused on your gum line and the roots of your teeth. Your dentist will use a small scaler to remove harmful plaque and tartar deposits underneath the gums. He will also gently reshape the roots of your teeth so they will be less likely to gather plaque in the future.
- Antibiotic therapy: To kill gum disease causing bacteria, your dentist can apply a topical antibiotic to the gums. It is able to seep into the small spaces between the teeth and the gums in order to eliminate leftover bacteria.
- Soft tissue laser dentistry treatment: When combined with comprehensive periodontal therapy, a diode laser for soft tissue procedures can reduce infection.
- Gum recontouring surgery: This may be performed in a case where the patient has receding gums. Using tissue harvested from the patient’s mouth or donated tissue, your dentist can bring the gumline back to its original position to restore the support of the teeth and overall appearance.
What Can I Do to Prevent Periodontal Disease?
- Practice good oral hygiene: Brushing and flossing is the best way to remove food debris trapped between the teeth and gums.
- Use mouthwash: Using a mouthwash can help reduce plaque and remove remaining food particles that brushing and flossing missed.
- Stop smoking: Smoking increases your risk for gum disease. It lowers your body’s immune system while also increasing the number of bacteria in your mouth.
- See your dentist: It is your dentist’s job to spot early signs of gum disease so it doesn’t progress. It is especially important to see your dentist if you are at higher risk of developing gum disease. This includes people who are over the age of 65, patients taking certain medications, and those who have systematic diseases like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
About the Author
Dr. Cody Calderwood is a general dentist practicing in Park City, UT. He earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery at the University of Maryland and has taken hundreds of hours of continuing education in all aspects of dentistry. Dr. Calderwood is actively involved with the American Dental Association, the Wasatch Back Dental Society, and the Utah Dental Association. He provides periodontal therapy as one of his many services. For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit his website or call (435) 649-4343.