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Gum Disease: Treatment and Prevention

 When many North Hollywood, CA, residents think of good oral health, they tend to think of conditions and treatments like cavities and root canal procedures. Although having teeth that are healthy and clean are essential to your general oral health, they are not the only story. The gums supporting your teeth must remain healthy and protected. When adults lose their teeth, it is normally due to gum disease, an entirely preventable condition.

Gum Disease

The term that dentists use for gum disease is periodontal disease. This is a chronic gum infection that is known as gingivitis in its early stages, and periodontitis after it has progressed and become irreversible.

Plaque is a sticky, colorless coating that forms on the teeth. You can help to prevent plaque by properly brushing and flossing at home. If you neglect these important habits, you may find that plaque hardens into something called tartar. After remaining on your teeth for a long period of time, plaque and tartar begin releasing toxins that began irritating your gums, causing them to swell or break down.

Hollow areas called pockets can also form in your gums, which contain bacteria. This type of oral bacteria grows, multiplies, and moves more deeply within your gums into the bones under your teeth. At this stage, your teeth may loosen and eventually fall out. Many people must have their teeth extracted at this point.

Some symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Persistent bad breath
  • Gums that are red or swollen
  • Tender, bleeding gums
  • Pain when chewing
  • Loose teeth
  • Teeth that are sensitive
  • Receding gums

Diagnosis and Treatment

Once your dentist has diagnosed gum disease, immediate treatment will be recommended. If you are in the early stages of gum disease, your teeth may be cleaned to remove plaque and tartar. The surfaces of your tooth roots may be “planed” for cleaning. You may be prescribed a course of antibiotics at this time to stave off infection. Patients tend to respond well at this point in their treatment.

If your gum disease is more advanced, you may need surgery. This type of surgery typically involves using a laser to reach tartar underneath the gum line. Once this tartar is removed, your oral surgeon will reposition your gums so that you are able to brush and floss normally.

Preventing Gum Disease

Like most medical conditions, it is much easier to prevent gum disease than to treat it. That is why it is so critically important that you maintain good oral health habits at home like brushing and flossing so that your teeth and gums remain clean.

If you currently smoke or chew tobacco, you can lower your odds of developing periodontal disease by quitting. Some people are genetically predisposed to developing gum disease, while others have misaligned teeth that make them more difficult to clean.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

If you are a resident of North Hollywood, CA, who has begun noticing the symptoms of gum disease, please contact your dentist today for a consultation.

If you have not been previously diagnosed with gum disease, you should make sure that you are staying current with your planned dental exams and cleaning appointments so that your teeth and mouth can be regularly examined for problem signs, and that any plaque and tartar can be removed to help prevent gum disease.