Gum disease is a condition that affects the supporting structures of the teeth. The condition isn’t painful or particularly noticeable in its early stages, so you may not realize you have it – -this is what makes it even more dangerous. As the condition worsens, signs can include sensitive and receding gums, bad breath, and loose teeth. In its most advanced stage, it can even cause tooth loss!
The severity of gum disease may increase the risk of other serious conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Neither of these diseases is caused by or associated with gum disease, but they do share some characteristics that make them more likely to develop, such as tissue inflammation and a weakened resistance to infection.
Most people who have gum disease don’t notice symptoms until the condition is at a moderate stage. By this time, some bone and tissue that support teeth may be lost, which can lead to tooth mobility.
Gum disease is most common among adults over the age of 40, but it can affect people of any age. People who have a weakened immune system due to an immunosuppressive medical condition can develop severe gum disease that may be difficult to control.
If you have gum disease or suspect the condition, contact our Herndon, VA, office for a full examination. We can determine if you have the disease and recommend treatment to safely control or treat it. Schedule your appointment today!
Signs & Symptoms
Gum disease usually begins as plaque – a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that accumulates on the surface of the teeth. As plaque attaches to teeth and irritates the gum tissue, it causes gum inflammation and irritation – resulting in a reddened and inflamed gum line.
When left on the teeth for over 24 hours, plaque turns into tartar (also known as calculus), a hard deposit that’s rough and porous and can trap even more bacteria. As tartar develops, it pulls the gums away from the teeth, which causes them to recede. Bone loss occurs when large amounts of plaque and tartar accumulate in the pockets created by gum recession; the bacteria sits on the bone and causes bone tissue degeneration and decay. This causes further recession of gum tissue and eventual loss of teeth.
This all begins with the accumulation of plaque on the tooth surface. You can remove plaque from teeth by brushing and flossing regularly, but it’s difficult to remove plaque from some areas of the mouth – these areas are usually between or behind the teeth and under the gum line. That is why it’s important to visit us for bi-annual cleanings!
Stages of Gum Disease
Gum disease occurs in three separate stages that you can watch out for by examining the gum tissue each night while cleaning:
- Gingivitis – This first stage of gum disease is characterized by swollen, red gum tissue. You may notice slight gum recession and gums that bleed when you floss.
- Periodontitis – At this stage, gum disease becomes untreatable, but it can be managed with services at our office. Periodontitis is characterized by the above symptoms, along with moderate gum recession, bad breath, and loose teeth.
- Advanced periodontitis – This is the last stage of the condition, as well as the most severe. At this stage, the teeth and gums are painful and extremely sensitive to heat and cold. You may see pus along the gum line and experience loose teeth and tooth loss.
Scaling & Root Planing
Scaling and root planing – also known as deep cleaning, consists of removing all plaque and tartar from the surfaces of your teeth and below the gum line. This treatment is utilized to manage gum disease in its moderate stages by removing plaque and tartar from the gum pockets and preventing further recession.
- Scaling is the process of removing bacterial buildup along your gum line by using hand instruments or ultrasonic tools.
- Root planing is the smoothing of your root surfaces by hand instruments or ultrasonic tools in order to remove irregularities and roughness caused by the disease.
Using these tools allows the gum tissue to reattach to the tooth surface, which stimulates cellular growth and bone regeneration. This, in turn, ensures a stronger foundation for your teeth and bone tissue and decreases the risk of future pocket formation.
Chao Pinhole® Technique
Chao Pinhole gum surgery is a minimally invasive treatment that can be performed to reduce localized gum recession caused by gum disease. By placing one or more small ‘pinholes’ in the gingiva (the layer of gum tissue that surrounds the teeth), we are able to shift the position of the tissue and move it to cover more of the exposed tooth. This minimally invasive approach to gum surgery also allows for increased blood circulation through the gum tissue, rapid healing, collagen growth, and incredible results with less discomfort for the patient.
In comparison to other methods, such as gum grafts, Chao Pinhole surgery produces less tissue trauma with the same impressive outcome – a reduction in tooth sensitivity caused by exposed roots and teeth that are more securely retained by surrounding tissue.
Leading Your Fight Against Gum Disease
GoSmiles Dentistry is prepared and equipped to detect, diagnose, and manage gum disease within our office. Rather than being referred to various practices for treatment or having the condition go unnoticed altogether, we make it a priority to treat the disease at the earliest point of detection and to do so comfortably and conveniently. Always striving for excellence and superior care for those we are so honored to treat, patients can expect nothing but the best from our team.
Let’s fight gum disease together at our Herndon, VA, practice! Call today to schedule your appointment.