Gum disease is a common oral health condition impacting many Americans. It occurs when bacteria in your mouth cause an inflammation of your gum tissue. Gum disease often develops due to poor at-home oral hygiene practices and a failure to go for regular dental cleanings. However, when not properly treated, gum disease can result in tooth loss and increase your risk of a variety of other serious health conditions.
The best way to prevent gum disease is to brush twice a day, floss once a day, and visit our dentists twice a year for a checkup and cleaning. However, you should also be on the lookout for the warning signs that you may be experiencing gum disease so that you can seek treatment at the earliest sign of symptoms.
Early Stages of Gum Disease: Gingivitis
Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. During this phase, a buildup of plaque and tartar along the gum line cause your gums to become inflamed. At this point, no irreversible damage has occurred and treatment can restore proper gum health.
Common symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Tender, sensitive or sore gum tissue
- Red, puffy or swollen gums
- Bleeding while brushing and flossing
- Chronic bad breath
At this point, the bone and connective tissue surrounding your teeth are not affected. Treating gum disease while it is still in the gingivitis stage can prevent the loss of tooth and bone down the road.
Advanced Stages of Gum Disease: Periodontitis
If left untreated, gingivitis may gradually become worse and develop into periodontitis, the more advanced stage of gum disease. Periodontitis is much more serious than gingivitis, and it can result in the inner layer of bone and gum tissue pulling away from your teeth to form pockets. As these pockets collect plaque and other debris, they become infected.
Toxins produced by the bacteria found in plaque eventually cause the bone and connective tissue holding your teeth in place to deteriorate. Over time, the pockets in your gums deepen and can result in tooth and bone loss.
Symptoms of periodontitis include:
- Spaces (pockets) between the teeth and gums
- Infected gums
- Bone deterioration
- Teeth may become loose and eventually fall out
- Deeper gum pockets may fill with pus (in advanced forms of periodontitis)
- Your bite may be affected
Once you’ve reached the periodontitis stage, more aggressive treatment is required in order to stem the progression of gum disease and prevent tooth loss.
Periodontal Treatment Options
Dr. Robert Chin and Dr. Jessica Pharar offer a variety of periodontal treatment options. They will recommend the best course of action for you based on the health and condition of your gums.
Depending on the severity of your gum disease, treatment may entail:
- Deep cleaning – Our dentists perform a professional cleaning to remove plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line
- Scaling and root planing – Plaque and tartar are scraped away from above and below the gum line (scaling) and rough spots on your tooth’s root are smoothed out (root planing)
- Perio Protect – Perio Protect uses special trays to deliver medication under the gums and into gum pockets which have formed in order to kill bacteria and treat any infection in your gum tissue
If you’re experiencing advanced stages of periodontitis, surgical treatments may be required. In these situations, Dr. Robert Chin and Dr. Jessica Pharar may refer you to a specialist.
Please contact Drs. Chin Dentistry using the form on this page or call 702-445-7075 today to schedule an appointment. Our dentists serve patients in Las Vegas, Summerlin and Henderson, Nevada.