Healthy teeth depend on healthy gums that protect the base of the teeth, where connective tissue anchors them to bone. Left untreated, gum problems can lead to tooth loss.
Gum disease takes two forms: gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis occurs when bacteria collects in tiny pockets at the gum line, causing inflammation. The most common symptoms are bleeding when teeth are brushed and persistent bad breath. If gingivitis goes untreated, the inflammation can damage connective tissue and even bone. This causes periodontitis.
Periodontitis leads to receding gums, visible pockets of inflammation along the gum line, pus coming from the gums, bad breath that won’t go away, gum pain, unusual sensitivity to temperature changes, and a change in how your teeth fit together when you bite. Eventually, even the healthiest teeth can become loose and even fall out.
If early stage gum disease is not treated promptly or does not respond well to treatment, it can progress to periodontitis that requires treatment to get rid of the infection and stop damage to the teeth. Treatment must be followed by long-term care to maintain the health of your mouth.
If you have periodontitis, your dentist may give you antibiotics to kill bacteria and stop the pain. They may be applied directly on the gum, swallowed as pills or capsules or inserted into the pockets in your gums. You may need surgery if these treatments don’t control the infection or you already have severe damage to your gums or teeth.
Surgery may include gingivectomy, which removes and reshapes loose, diseased gum tissue to get rid of the pockets between the teeth and gums where plaque accumulates or a flap procedure, which cleans the roots of the tooth and repairs damage.
After treatment, you will need to keep your mouth disease free to prevent plaque buildup. You will need to brush carefully and rinse after all meals and snacks and floss daily. Your dentist will prescribe an antibacterial mouthwash.
Your dentist will schedule follow-up appointments every three to four months for cleaning and to make sure that the disease has not returned.
Dental infections that are left untreated can even spread to other parts of the body, and in very rare cases, can be life threatening. Dental disease is preventable, so it is important to see your dentist regularly.
Call Urgent Dental Care at 314-423-0000 for an appointment.