Have you noticed a change in your gums recently? Do they bleed when you brush or eat hard or crunchy foods? If you notice anything different about the way your gums look or feel, there’s a good possibility that what you’re seeing are symptoms of gum disease.
Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that develops on your teeth throughout the day. Whatever you’ve had in your mouth throughout the day – food, drink, and even saliva – causes plaque to develop. This is why the professional team at Scottsdale Dentist AZ constantly emphasizes the importance of brushing and flossing twice a day.
If plaque isn’t removed with proper oral hygiene, it stays on your teeth and eventually hardens into a substance called tartar. This extremely hard substance stays attached to the surface of your teeth until a trained dental hygienist can remove it with special instruments.
The Two Stages of Gum Disease
Gum disease is a periodontal infection that attacks your gum tissue. It is caused by a buildup of plaque and bacteria on your teeth. There are two stages of gum disease:
Stage One – Gingivitis
The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis. In this early stage, the infection works its way into your gums, and you may notice tenderness, swelling, or bleeding. Gingivitis may go undetected in some cases because the symptoms are so mild that they’re not apparent. However, gingivitis is usually reversible if it is detected and treated early.
Stage Two – Periodontitis
If gingivitis is not treated, the infection will gradually spread to your teeth, bones, and the connective tissue holding your teeth in place. This causes the gum and bone to separate from your teeth, opening up small pockets between the gums and teeth. These pockets collect bacteria and eventually become infected, which in turn leads to the loss of bone and tissue, loosening of the teeth, and even tooth loss.
Treating Gum Disease
If we find the presence of gum disease, we will choose an appropriate treatment based on the overall health of your teeth and the severity of the infection. If it’s a minor infection, a thorough cleaning with frequent follow-ups may be all that’s needed to get gum disease under control.
In more advanced cases, we’ll recommend gum infection therapy treatment. This involves thoroughly clearing away any bacteria, then smoothing the surface of the teeth to eliminate spots where they can collect. The affected area will be irrigated with an antibacterial rinse to flush out any remaining bacteria and give you a fresh start.
Our gentle hygienists will recommend that you return in about 4 to 6 weeks to our dental office for a follow-up visit. They may also suggest scheduling more frequent cleanings in the future so we can monitor your condition and stay a step ahead of the disease.