Many people have gum disease but may not know they have the condition. Also known as periodontitis, gum disease usually is preceded by gum swelling and bleeding, or gingivitis. Dr. Joseph A. Catanzano III, DDS, offers periodontal therapy to patients in Washington, D.C. This restorative dentistry solution encompasses multiple treatment options to remove infection and keep teeth and gums healthy.
Gum Disease: The Causes
A top cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene. When you aren’t taking care of your mouth properly, bacteria start to build up in your mouth. They create plaque, a sticky film that coats your teeth. If you don’t remove plaque, it hardens into something called tartar. Only a dental professional can remove tartar from your teeth. Bacteria thrive in this environment, irritating and inflaming the gum tissue and developing gum disease.
Tobacco use of any kind contributes to your likelihood of gum disease. Tobacco weakens your immune system and restricts the blood flow to your gum tissue. Both of these things hinder your body’s ability to fight off infection. Not only that, but it also compromises how your body heals. All of these things make you more susceptible to gum disease.
Certain medications and medical conditions can heighten your chances, too. Diabetes is one of the main ones. If you’re a diabetic and have high sugar levels, your ability to fight off infection is compromised. Diabetic patients are also more likely to get gum disease and suffer harsher symptoms.
There are also many signs of periodontitis to look out for:
- Swollen gums
- Bad breath (Halitosis)
- Bleeding gums
- Mouth sores
- Gum swelling
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
Call 202-315-2188 if any of these conditions sound familiar. We will work with you to find a solution that aligns well with your budget and goals.
The Stages of Gum Disease
Periodontal disease cycles through many different stages. Without proper treatment and management, it continues to progress and worsen.
The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis. It’s the only stage that’s reversible. Without proper oral healthcare, bacteria and plaque build up on your teeth, eventually hardening into tartar. When this occurs at the gumline, it causes irritation and inflammation in the gum tissue. The most noticeable symptom of this stage is bleeding gums. Everyone’s gums bleed occasionally, but gingivitis causes regular, frequent bleeding.
Many adults in the US suffer from gingivitis and may not even know it. Because the warning signs aren’t painful, it’s harder for patients to realize that there’s a problem. This is why going to your regular dental visits is so important. To treat this stage, we use more diligent oral healthcare. Instead of twice-yearly dental visits, we’ll have you come in more often for deep cleanings. You’ll have to brush and floss more often at home, and we may provide you with an antimicrobial mouthwash to lessen the bacteria count in your mouth.
Mild Periodontal Disease
Gum disease is no longer reversible when it reaches this point, but we can manage it. The bacteria become more aggressive and start to attack the bone structure. Pockets form between your gum tissue and bone, filling with bacteria and debris. We perform deep cleaning called scaling and root planing at this stage. We remove all the debris from those gum pockets and smooth down the tooth roots so that the gum tissue properly reattaches to the bone.
Moderate Periodontal Disease
The bacteria continue to get more aggressive in this stage. Not only are they attacking bone structure, but they get into your bloodstream. They carry infection and inflammation to places all over your body. Like mild periodontal disease, we use scaling and root planing to manage the condition.
Severe Periodontal Disease
The bacteria have completely evolved in this stage. Your gums ooze pus and blood, you have severe bad breath that you can’t get rid of, and it hurts to chew and speak. The foundation of your teeth is compromised, so they’re loosening and at risk of falling out. Laser periodontal treatment or gum surgery is the only way to manage the condition at this stage.
Periodontal Disease Treatments at Foxhall Smiles
An array of solutions are used to treat patients with gum disease at all stages. Some common treatments include:
Scaling and Root Planing: Scaling and root planing are often used to help clean gums and fight gum inflammation. Scaling removes plaque and tartar above and below the gum line to provide a deep clean to the bottom of the gum pocket. Root planing smooths out tooth roots and helps the gums reattach to teeth.
Gum graft surgery: During this treatment, mouth tissue is taken from one area and then used to cover tooth roots. Gum grafting can prevent tooth loss that often occurs in later stages of periodontitis.
Flap surgery: During this procedure, the gums are lifted, and tartar is cleaned from beneath them. Deep gum pockets can be treated effectively with this treatment option.
Antibiotics can help remove bacteria that cause infection, but they may not be enough when an infection is severe. These common surgical and non-surgical methods effectively remove infection at the source.
Periodontal Therapy FAQs
Is gum disease repairable?
Millions of people suffer from the issue of gum recession, which, if untreated, could result in the loss of teeth and bone structure. Periodontal surgery can substantially restore the damage and stop the recession from progressing.
Is gum disease genetic?
Studies have shown that heredity may play a role in periodontal disease. Therefore, your genetic make-up may potentially increase your risk of developing periodontitis. Regardless of your predisposition to developing gum disease, taking good care of your teeth and gums is important to avoid future issues.
What happens if you leave gum disease untreated?
When a patient has gum disease, an infection harms their soft tissue, and the bone that supports them erodes. If the disease is not treated, the bone will eventually deteriorate, causing the teeth to become loose and fall out.
How common is gum disease?
Some degree of gum disease is present in almost half (46%) of all persons aged 30 or older, with roughly 9% of adults suffering from severe gum disease. Good oral hygiene and routine professional cleanings can help prevent and treat gum disease.
Request a Periodontal Evaluation Today
Do you think you could be developing periodontitis? You can contact Foxhall Smiles at 202-315-2188 or schedule an online appointment with Dr. Catanzano and his team. Dr. Catanzano and his dental staff only use the most modern dental care treatments.