Gum disease, also called periodontitis or periodontal disease, is an inflammation of the gums. Gum disease is preceded by gingivitis, though not all cases of gingivitis progress to gum disease.
Gum disease causes the gums to regress from the teeth, leaving pockets for bacteria which can eat away at the bone in the teeth and jaw. Left untreated, gum disease can cause tooth loss and bone decay, and gum disease can even affect your overall health. Gum disease is associated with an increased risk of stroke, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and more.
This is scary, but you can decrease your risk of getting gum disease by maintaining good oral hygiene as well as paying attention to warning signs.
You should always be wary of changes in your oral health, especially if you’re experiencing pain, bleeding or soreness. Though these warning signs are not all indicators of gum disease, it’s important to pay attention, and if you think you may have symptoms of gum disease or gingivitis, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist. Here are just a few of the early signs of gum disease:
- Bleeding or sensitive gums during brushing or flossing
- Tender, red or swollen gums
- Receding gum lines, or noticing that your teeth look “longer.” This appearance is because more of the tooth is exposed at the root
- Pockets between the tooth root and gums
- Change in your bite, or the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth
- Loose or shifting teeth
- Bad breath that won’t go away
Treatment depends greatly on how far your gum disease has progressed. If you’re in the early stages of gum disease, or if your gingivitis has not progressed to gum disease yet, Dr. Ken and Marnie Collins may simply suggest changes to your home dental care, or suggest you visit Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics for more regular teeth cleanings, just to keep an eye on your teeth and ensure your oral health doesn’t worsen.
If your gum disease is advanced, your dentist may suggest laser gum treatment. This treatment includes planing and scaling your teeth, providing a deep clean between the teeth and gums, and encouraging gum restoration.
If you’re curious about gum disease but haven’t necessarily experienced these symptoms, there’s a lot you can do to protect yourself against gingivitis and gum disease. Prevention is always better than intervention, and Drs. Ken and Marnie Collins at Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics can provide you with the tools and knowledge to protect against gum disease.
If you’re concerned you’re experiencing early signs of gingivitis or gum disease, Drs. Ken and Marnie at Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics in Spokane Valley can provide diagnosis and treatment. To schedule an appointment today to have your oral health assessed, call (509) 927-2273 today or click here to book online.