Dentist in Kirkland offers treatment options for symptoms of gum disease
Gum disease is a common dental problem among adults. In the earliest stages, periodontal disease is easily treated and reversible. It is not a problem to ignore. Left untreated, the condition contributes to additional oral and health problems. Dr. Ann Kelley and Kingsgate Dental Clinic in Kirkland offer treatment for gum disease to protect the health of patients’ smiles.
Symptoms and stages of gum disease
Healthy gums are the light pink supportive tissues at the base of the teeth. They protect the gums and bone. When the gums are infected, they become red, swollen, and sensitive. They may also bleed easily. These are early signs of gum disease. Redness and swelling are only the beginning. As the disease progresses, it becomes more destructive as bacteria spreads throughout the oral cavity.
Periodontal disease does not appear overnight. The symptoms arise gradually and escalate when left untreated. When plaque is allowed to build up on the teeth, bacteria can spread into the gums. Normally, good oral practices and routine visits to the dentist remove the plaque and bacteria before problems occur. However, if the plaque is not removed and the bacteria spreads, dental and health problems arise.
There are three stages of gum disease ranging from mild to severe. Gingivitis is the first and most common stage. The gums appear red and sensitive. They may bleed when brushing or flossing. At this point, gum disease is often reversible. Untreated, gingivitis leads to periodontitis. During this stage, bacteria causes the gums to recede and pull away from the teeth. Spaces form between the teeth and gums where bacteria can accumulate and cause infections. Advanced periodontitis is the most severe stage of gum disease. At this point, patients may experience damage to the teeth, bones, gums, and connective tissues. The teeth may become loose and tooth loss is possible.
Gum disease treatments
Patients who notice signs of gum disease should contact Kingsgate Dental Clinic right away even if it is between routine dental appointments. The earlier any dental problem is addressed, the better the outlook. Treatments are available for each stage of gum disease to prevent it from worsening. The treatment used depends on the symptoms and stage of the disease.
Prevention is the ideal treatment. Following good oral hygiene habits at home and maintaining regular visits with your dentist helps preserve the health of your teeth and gums. Your dental team can educate you and review proper home oral care to improve your overall wellness. Routine care includes the following:
- Brush at least twice per day.
- Floss daily to remove particles between the teeth.
- Use mouthwash or an oral irrigator to cleanse hard-to-reach areas.
- Replace the toothbrush or toothbrush head every three to six months.
- Visit the dentist every six months for a routine check and cleaning.
Dental visits are an important part of preventing gum disease and dental problems. The six month scheduling is precisely spaced so that if new issues arise, the problems can be handled promptly and effectively. Early signs of gum disease can be treated before the problem progresses.
Unfortunately, gum disease may occur even for patients who have good intentions and habits. The dental team assesses the problem to determine the best treatment plan. Gingivitis is often reversible. The bone and connective tissues remain unharmed. Any problems are often be treated with a professional deep cleaning and maintaining good oral habits at home. This cleaning or scaling removes built-up plaque and bacteria to prevent the bacteria from spreading further into the gums. If there are any irregularities, they are smoothed out so plaque cannot deposit in those areas. Antibiotics may be used to treat gum infections. The dental treatment stops gum disease in its tracks, keeping it from causing additional damage. Future dental appointments may be scheduled more frequently to monitor the gum disease and to prevent bacteria from accumulating.
Patients with advanced stages of gum disease can still be treated. However, some damage may not be reversed. Visiting the dentist regularly and maintaining good oral practices is important to keep gum disease from spreading.
Gum disease is preventable. Protect the health of your mouth with routine dental care. Contact Dr. Ann Kelley and the staff at Kingsgate Dental Clinic in Kirkland, WA for information on treatment for gum disease. Call (425) 385-0080 to schedule an appointment.