Dental care is about more than keeping your teeth healthy and taking care of your smile. It’s also about maintaining firm gums and a healthy mouth overall. Read on to learn about gum care and treatment options for gum disease.
Why Your Gums Are Important
Why do gums matter? We may take them for granted, but gums are important because they serve many purposes, including:
- They help keep your teeth in place, serving to anchor them
- Gums protect your teeth and the underlying bones
- They form a seal to keep bacteria out and prevent infections and decay
- Collectively, they create an effective barrier to keep food particles out
When your dentist examines your mouth, he or she inspects not only your teeth, but also your tongue, the inside of your cheeks, the roof of your mouth, and the pink, fleshy tissue around your teeth known as the gums. If anything needs help, treatment options are available to address the issues present.
If your gums are experiencing problems, these are some of the symptoms you or your dentist might notice:
- Bleeding gums
- Gums that are red (they should be pink), swollen, or tender
- Receding or loose gums
- Infections at the gums, or between them and your teeth
- Bad breath
- Pain at the gums or around your teeth
- Soreness or pain when chewing and eating
Options For Early Stages
In the earlier stages of gum disease, treatment will be more responsive. This means that you’ll likely enjoy better results quicker, with only non-invasive or minimally invasive procedures required.
Early-stage gum disease (also called periodontal disease) is referred to as gingivitis. At this stage, treatment may consist of one or more of the following:
- Getting a professional dental cleaning done
- Scaling and root planing: a more in-depth cleaning that reaches under the gums
- Any needed dental restorations, such as crowns that fit better
- Prescribed mouthwash rinses, to reduce the presence of bacteria and improve oral health
- Ongoing care at home, including regular, thorough brushing and flossing
When gum disease is mild, gums usually respond favorably to ongoing, tenacious care. Over time, with daily care that consists of brushing, flossing, and an antibacterial mouthwash prescribed by your dentist, you should see noticeable improvement.
Later In The Disease
If you don’t address issues early on, they can escalate, and they become somewhat harder to treat at these later stages.
Regardless, it’s important that you seek dental care even at a late stage! Even though treatment may become more involved, it can still be effective. It’s important that you do seek professional help to resolve the issues and save your teeth.
These are some of the symptoms you may notice with advanced gum disease, also called periodontitis:
- Inflamed gums, including the tissues below the gums
- Frequent bleeding of the gums
- Buildup of tartar and plaque on teeth
- Receding gums (pulling away from the teeth)
- More pronounced pain when eating and chewing
- Teeth may wiggle or feel loose in sockets
- The presence of deep pockets between teeth and gums
- A changing or shifting bite
- Dentures no longer fit properly
At the later stages, your dental care professional may need to turn to more aggressive forms of treatment to successfully fight gum disease. After your dentist examines your mouth and consults with you on a treatment plan, one or more of the following may take place:
- Professional dental cleaning, scaling, and root planing to remove deeply embedded plaque
- Flap surgery: This procedure lifts up the gums for a thorough, deep cleaning. Any damaged bone underneath may be smoothed. The gums are then placed snugly on the teeth for a strong seal that resists bacteria.
- Guided tissue regeneration: To stimulate regrowth of the gums and any bone tissues that have been damaged.
- Soft tissue grafts: To reinforce gums that are too thin.
Other treatment options may be explored and discussed. Be sure to ask any questions you may have. Most importantly, don’t put off getting help for painful, swollen, or infected gums. If you do, you may end up losing teeth. Get treatment to restore your gum health and enjoy not only a better look, but also a pain-free, comfortable mouth and ease when eating and chewing.
What You Can Do To Avoid Gum Disease
We’ve talked about treatment options, but we also want to go over what you can do to avoid gum disease in the first place.
While many factors come into play when it comes to the presence and severity of gum disease, there are concrete steps you can take to keep symptoms from developing. These steps include:
- Regular brushing: Brush thoroughly at least twice a day.
- Flossing: Be sure to floss daily to clean the regions between your teeth.
- Don’t smoke: In addition to being bad for your health overall, smoking causes issues in your mouth.
- Eat healthy: Like the rest of your body, your teeth and gums need proper nutrition to stay healthy.
- Rinse your mouth: Try to rinse your mouth after you eat in order to get rid of bacteria and prevent both gum disease and tooth decay.
- Schedule dental checkups: You may not notice the early stages of gum disease, but your dentist’s trained eye will pick up the signs. If anything is amiss, your dentist will recommend measures to nip gum disease before it escalates.
Schedule Your Dental Care Appointment Today
To keep your teeth the healthiest they can be, make sure to get exams, cleanings, and dental care regularly at a dental office near you. Here in Longmont, our family dentistry practice sees and treats patients of all ages, providing general dentistry services with compassion and excellence. We genuinely care about your dental wellness, and we have experience in a wide range of treatments, enabling us to opt for the ones that will suit your situation and meet your needs the best.
If you’re experiencing pain in your mouth or any type of issues with your teeth, know that you don’t have to live with the discomfort. Get the dental treatment you need to take care of the issue. Get in touch with Smile Designers in Longmont to schedule your appointment. We’ll work with you to resolve the problem and restore your dental health. Reach out to us today!