Gingivitis, or gum disease, is quite a common oral health problem and many people are unaware that they may be suffering from the condition. Common symptoms of gum and periodontal disease include:
- Bleeding gums especially after brushing teeth or eating
- Red and inflamed or swollen gums
- Pain, sensitivity or tenderness
- Bad breath
- Receding gums or gums that pull away from the teeth or leave pockets or gaps between the teeth
- Teeth that become loose and/or shift or a change alignment
Gingivitis is caused by a build-up of bacteria in plaque in the mouth that results in tender, inflamed, red gums. These are the initial stages of periodontal disease which is a far more serious condition and can result in tooth and bone loss as well as tissue damage. This damage and loss is often irreversible.
Fortunately, there are treatments available to help eliminate gingivitis before it turns into periodontal disease. Most often, a periodontist will treat the early signs of gum and periodontal disease by reducing the amount of bacteria as well as treating the pain, inflammation, bad breath and other symptoms associated with this condition.
However, in some cases, a dentist may refer you to a periodontist who is a specialist in treating gingivitis as well as periodontal disease. First and foremost a periodontist will provide a stringent oral healthcare routine that will need to practiced at home on a daily basis to help reduce the bacteria and root cause of the gum disease.
Depending on the severity of the condition, they may perform scaling and root planing which is basically cleaning an infected root. For more severe cases, debridement which is the removal of damaged root tissue may be necessary. They may also recommend the surgical removal of teeth and tissue that have become infected or irrevocably damaged.
In the case where tooth loss has occurred or an extraction has been performed, a periodontist may recommend implants to artificially replace the missing teeth. These gum disease specialists also specialize in the placement of tooth implants.
Implants are not only for aesthetic reasons but can help prevent the deterioration of bones and bone loss. This is because teeth naturally support the jawbone and once they are removed, will result in the slow loss of bone. Implants are placed in the jawbone basically taking over the function of the teeth in keeping the bone strong and healthy.
If you have any of the signs and symptoms of gingivitis, it is recommended to visit a periodontist sooner rather than later.