Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease is most often caused by plaque, tartar/calculus, and bacterial buildup that is not treated in its early stage; it is also caused by teeth grinding, some medications, some medical conditions (both pregnancy and diabetes can affect the health of your gums), tooth misalignment, bite misalignment, tobacco use, and genetics. Gingivitis is the earliest stage of periodontal disease, and can be treated if detected in a routine checkup. Left untreated, gingivitis may turn into advanced gum disease. Advanced gum disease will lead to bone and tooth loss, and is a permanent condition. Regular checkups and good oral hygiene can help prevent and treat gingivitis and more acute cases of gum disease. Common symptoms of gum disease are:
- Red, irritated, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Extreme tooth sensitivity
- Chronic bad breath
- Gum recession
- Loose teeth, or loss of teeth
- Abscessed teeth
If you have periodontal disease, your dentist will help you outline a plan to treat it. There are both surgical and non-surgical methods of treatment and which treatment is required is dependent on the severity of the gum disease, it’s response to treatment, and the patient’s compliance with the treatment protocol. Sometimes dentists refer patients to gum specialists, periodontists.
In addition to treating gum disease, periodontists are often considered the plastic surgeons of dentistry. If you are looking to improve your smile, the team at Black Mountain Family Dentistry may be able to help.
For smiles that are too gummy, have gums covering too much of some teeth while leaving others the right length, or have teeth that look too short, dental crown lengthening procedures or gingivoplasty may be a good solution. These procedures involve excess gum tissue being removed to expose more of the tooth, sculpting the gum line to reveal a more balanced smile.
Some smiles have the opposite problem with gum recession allowing too much of a tooth or tooth root to become exposed. This can cause teeth to look to long and makes people look older than they are. Gum recession can be caused by a variety of factors including age and periodontal disease. Grafting surgery to cover exposed roots can prevent further recession and protect from decay.
Tooth loss leads to bone loss, causing indentations in the gums and bone where the tooth used to be. Bone grafting and ridge augmentation can fill in these defects to recreate the natural shape of the gums and jaw. An implant restoration can then be placed, creating a replacement that is easy to care for, beautiful, and natural looking.