Healthy gums are the foundation for a healthy smile. If the picture that we envision is a beautiful and healthy smile, then the gums are the frame to that portrait. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that half of all Americans age 30 and older have some form of periodontal disease.
One of the most common signs of gum disease is bleeding gums, called gingivitis. This is due to a lack of dental care and poor oral hygiene which enables harmful bacteria to locate below the gum tissue and harden into tartar. This causes the gums to begin bleeding.The effects of gum disease have been documented in numerous scientific journals suggesting a link to heart disease and/or dementia.
Keeping your gums healthy has major benefits for your overall health. Poor gum health can lead to tooth damage, changes in the fit of your bite, and drastic shifting of your teeth. Additionally, patients suffering from poor gum health are at higher risk for developing cardiovascular disease and respiratory infections. Dr. Huckin screens for the signs of gum disease during routine dental visits. If periodontal therapy is suggested to you, know that you have several options on how to potentially proceed.
Stages of Gum Disease
There are two key stages of gum disease, each of which can have a progression of symptoms.
- Gingivitis: This is the first stage of gum disease that is characterized by red, swollen or irritated gums that may bleed when brushing your teeth. It is typically caused by bacteria in the plaque that builds up around your gums. Gingivitis can usually be treated conservatively with success to avoid further infection and damage.
- Periodontitis: If gingivitis is left untreated, it will develop into periodontitis, the advanced stage of gum disease with complex symptoms including receding gums and loose teeth. In this stage of gum disease, the bacteria in the plaque actually cause the gums to become infected which will result in damage to the soft tissue and bone that support your teeth. Depending on the extent of damage or loss of tissue, we may recommend seeing a local periodontist to restore gum health.
Our dental hygienists are highly trained and participate in continuing education to stay up to date with the latest techniques in gum disease management. They can halt the progression of the disease using various procedures. We are committed to improving your oral health and compassionate about providing the personalized care you need to enjoy long term gum health.
Periodontal Therapy by Dr. William Huckin
The first step is to determine the stage of your gum disease and if there is any tissue damage. Dr. Huckin will evaluate the current condition of your gums and recommend the most suitable dental services. Our treatment options include:
- Scaling and root planing: Following a thorough cleaning, scaling and root planing is a procedure to remove plaque from the deep pockets where tooth roots may be exposed. This removes bacteria that has found its way deep into the gum line, which could be causing your symptoms.
- Oral surgery: If your gum tissue is extensively damaged, Dr. Huckin may suggest an oral surgery to restore your smile.
- Antibacterial rinse: To prevent gum disease from returning, Dr. Huckin may recommend that you incorporate an antibacterial rinse into your dental hygiene routine. This extra step can be the difference between improving the long-term stability of your gum health.
Chronic Gum Disease
If you experience chronic gum disease, Dr. Huckin can assist you in coming up with a treatment plan. We suggest our patients visit us every six months, though we may ask you to come in more often so that we can keep a close eye on the health of your gums. Additionally, you should always contact our office to schedule an appointment if you suspect you are experiencing the early signs of gum disease.