Gum disease is no laughing matter. Not only can it make you feel self-conscious when smiling but also put you at risk for long-term problems. If you show any of the signs, you need to visit a dentist right away. This is not something you want to ignore.
Understanding gum disease
Gum disease, called periodontal disease as well, is an infection of the gum tissue. It targets the tissue that keeps teeth securely in place. If not corrected, an individual would need teeth extracted. Even worse, it can cause significant damage to the surrounding tissue and bone. Therefore, it is important for people to learn the signs of having gum disease.
Signs to watch for
Two of the first signs are redness and swelling. Typically, healthy gums have a light to dark pink color. However, if the gums begin to look red, there could be a problem. In fact, in severe cases of gum disease, they may turn a purple color. As for swelling, people can see the gum tissue rise above the tooth line. It is also common for the gums to feel soft to the touch due to fluid retention.
As an infection worsens, a person’s gums can begin to bleed. This is most noticeable when brushing or flossing. At some point, untreated gum disease would cause the tissue to recede. In other words, it would pull away from the teeth. When that happens, it intensifies the problem, allowing food particles to reach into the gaps.
If gum disease progresses, it can cause teeth to loosen. Again, if left untreated, a person’s teeth could fall out. Perhaps one of the most unpleasant signs of gum disease is the development of pus. As the infection becomes worse and spreads, the tissue fills with a green liquid. That can also create seriously bad breath and leave a nasty taste in the person’s mouth.
Initially, people with gum disease do not have much pain, if any at all. As time goes on, that changes. This is especially true when chewing, which becomes increasingly difficult. The way a person bites down can also change. For denture wearers, they would notice a loose-fitting appliance. The key is to see a dental professional at the first sign of gum disease.
Regardless of the stage, a dental professional can treat gum disease. The first thing is to get the infection under control. For that, a dentist would prescribe antibiotics. Then, planing is often the non-surgical approach taken. With this, the dental professional scrapes away and removes tartar and plaque from the teeth and surfaces of the roots. The dentist gives the patient a local anesthesia and often needs to perform more than one treatment.
There is also a pocket reduction treatment. In this case, the dentist folds back the tissue, removes the infection and then smooths out damaged areas. A graft is an option when the gums have receded, exposing the nerve roots. If a patient has damage to the bone, the dentist may perform a regenerative procedure. This encourages the regrowth of tissue and bone.
Take care of your teeth
The number one cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene. The best way to avoid this problem is to brush and floss after every meal. People might also consider having the teeth sealed. If you suspect a problem, do not wait to see your dentist. That would give the infection time to intensify.
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