Fort Worth, TX dentist restores oral health with gum disease treatment
Did you know that at least 80 percent of the population has suffered from some form of gum disease? The condition most often starts out with bleeding gums, and if left untreated, it can eventually cause permanent tooth loss and bone deterioration. At Sycamore Dental, our team believes in showing our patients in the Fort Worth, TX ⤴ area what causes gum disease, how to treat it, and most importantly, how to prevent it from occurring.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease starts with bacteria build up. The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis, which develops when bacteria and tartar cause swelling and bleeding of the gums. Periodontitis is the advanced form of gum disease, and it occurs when gingivitis is left untreated. Periodontitis is a very serious condition that can cause permanent tooth loss and destroy the jawbone and gum tissue.
Signs and symptoms of gum disease
- Gums that bleed during brushing and flossing
- Swollen, red, or tender gums
- Sensitive teeth
- Teeth that are loose or shifting out of place
- Chronic bad breath
- Receding gum line (when teeth appear longer)
- Pockets between the gums and the teeth
Treatment options for gum disease
There are several different types of treatment for gum disease, depending on the severity of the condition. The goal of gum disease treatment is to eliminate harmful bacteria and prevent it from continuing to spread. Treatment for gingivitis is straightforward and non-invasive, while treatment for periodontitis can become much more complex, sometimes even requiring surgery. Some common treatments are:
- Professional cleaning – If we’ve caught the gum disease in it’s very beginning stages, sometimes more frequent dental cleanings and improved home oral hygiene is all that’s required. We may recommend patients come in every three months until the disease has cleared up.
- Scaling and Root Planing – Once plaque and tartar have begun to spread below the gum line, we may recommend scaling and root planing, a type of deep, professional cleaning. During scaling and root planing, the dentist will scrape the tartar from the gum line and all the way down the root. Following treatment, antibiotics and antimicrobial mouth rinses may be prescribed to control infection.
- Bone / Tissue grafting – Advanced periodontitis can cause gum loss and bone deterioration due to deep tartar buildup. In these cases, treatment often requires bone and tissue grafting prior to restoration work such as dental implants. In both bone and tissue grafting, we can replace the loss and protect against further loss or bacteria buildup.
Gum disease assessments
During your appointment, we will look at the gum tissue for signs of tartar and bacteria build-up. We will assess any inflammation around the gums and if pockets are present we will measure them and look for signs of plaque.
Most forms of gum disease treatment are performed in the office under local anesthetic for comfort.
Recovering from gum disease treatment
Following gum disease treatment, you may notice some swelling or bleeding of the gums. Cold compresses can be used to minimize these side effects. Patients should expect to eat soft, bland foods following the procedure, as hot or spicy foods can irritate the tissue. Over the counter pain medications can be used as recommended to alleviate pain. Make sure to be gentle when brushing and flossing teeth after treatment.
Preventing gum disease
Gum disease is highly preventable, and by incorporating these habits into your oral hygiene routine you can help keep your mouth healthy.
- Brush regularly – We recommend that patients brush once in the morning and once in the evening. It’s also helpful to brush after meals whenever possible to remove food debris and plaque.
- Don’t forget to floss – Flossing should be done once each day to remove food particles and debris that can be trapped between teeth.
- Use mouthwash daily – An antibacterial mouthwash is good addition to your oral hygiene routine to remove food particles and reduce bacteria.
- Understand the risk factors – Poor diet, smoking, age, and a genetic history all increase your risk of gum disease. Knowing if you are at risk can help you take steps to reduce the chances of developing gum disease.
- Visit the dentist – During routine exams we can check for early signs of gum disease before they become a big problem. Professional cleanings are also a great way to remove tough plaque buildup.