Gum Disease Treatment
Looking For Answers About Gum Disease?
Gum disease is a very common health concern. It can be prevented, it can be treated, or it can be ignored until the teeth eventually go away.
Healthy gums don’t bleed (not unless they are cut open). Bleeding from brushing or flossing is a sure sign that gums are not healthy. Even mildly aggresive pocket probing won’t cause healthy gums to bleed. But even very infected gums of a smoker usually will not bleed much, due to their decreased capillary blood flow.
Periodontal or ‘gum’ disease usually develops gradually and painlessly over many years. By the time obvious symptoms surface, it might already have been serious enough to affect your overall health and put you in danger of losing teeth.
How gum disease develops. (Read this!)
- Plaque is a sticky layer of bacteria that continuously grows on our teeth as it eats the food in our diet. Some of the bacteria cause cavities. Other types cause gum disease. If daily home cleaning doesn’t remove enough of the plaque the remaining bacteria multiply into thick layers that become stickier and more difficult to remove. Some of it mineralizes into hard pieces of ‘tartar’ or ‘calculus’ that is still full of bacteria but now can’t be remove with just home care. So it stays there causing damage.
- Gingivitis is the term for infection in the gums when it hasn’t yet causes the gums to start detaching from the roots. It’s the early stage of gum disease and is reversible when proper action is taken early. Gingivitis usually doesn’t hurt. There might be redness, bleeding and bad breath but it’s relatively painless.
- When untreated and left to progress, infection in the gum breaks down gum tissue and detaches the gums from the roots at the depths of the pockets around the teeth. The deeper the pockets become, the more easily they become infected and with more virulent bacteria. The resulting inflammatory response in the gums as the immune system tries to fight the infection actually eats away the supporting bone around the teeth and the risk of losing teeth increases.
Periodontal, or gum disease treatment by Dr. Westman in Racine
Here is the good news: Preventing gum disease is relatively simple in most cases. A consistent oral hygiene routine at home that includes sonic-brushing and water-flossing, along with periodic professional cleanings and exams, is usually enough. If gum disease has already started detaching the gums from the roots but it is early in the process, then treatment is still pretty easy. With continued periodontal deterioration that has progressed unchecked, it gets more difficult but saving teeth is still usually possible.
How gum disease is treated
- Dental x-rays show how much healthy bone surrounds the teeth
- A periodontal ruler measures the depths of gum pockets around teeth
- Professional periodontal therapy visits treat deeper under the gumline where infection has advanced
- Surgery is a last resort and is rarely necessary
Gum disease symptoms? Take action now!
If you notice signs such as:
- Red or swollen gums
- Regularly bleeding gums
- Sensitive, painful or smelly gums (bad breath)
please schedule a ‘Gum Disease Dental Exam‘ with Dr. Westman in Racine, WI.