Gum Disease: The Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Gum Disease in Austin, TX | Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment

If you think you may be showing signs of gum disease, you’re not alone. Gum disease affects a significant portion of the population, as nearly half of all Americans over 30 show some of the signs and symptoms. This infection of the gums causes discomfort and pain and, if left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. The good news is that gum disease is fixable, especially if caught early, with treatment options at Aspire Dental. It’s important to understand the signs, stages, and preventative measures surrounding this common condition so you know what you can do at home and when to seek professional help from dentists like Dr. Hall and Dr. McNeil.

Understanding the Progression of Gum Disease

Gum Disease in Austin, TX | Signs, Symptoms, and TreatmentGum disease, or periodontal disease, is a common condition affecting the gums and tissues surrounding our teeth. It develops in stages, beginning with the buildup of plaque along the gum line. Plaque is a sticky, colorless, acidic film that grows in your mouth when bacteria feed on leftover food debris. If not removed through regular brushing and flossing, plaque can harden into tartar. This hard yellowish substance will further irritate the gums and can’t be brushed or flossed away; it’s only removed by your dentist.

A buildup of plaque and tartar will lead to gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease characterized by swollen, red, and bleeding gums. If gum disease isn’t treated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, a more severe stage in which the gums shift away from your teeth, creating periodontal pockets that can become infected. Without any intervention, this will ultimately lead to advanced periodontitis, which results in bone and tooth loss.

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At its most advanced stages, periodontitis is no longer reversible, only manageable, so regular dental check-ups and proper oral hygiene are crucial in preventing gum disease and maintaining overall dental health.

Recognizing the Symptoms

Identifying gum disease in its early stages is key to preventing its progression. Early detection and treatment can significantly enhance the likelihood of reversing gingivitis and maintaining oral health. You should schedule an appointment at Aspire Dental if you notice any of these symptoms:

  • Swollen, red, or puffy gums
  • Bleeding gums, especially after brushing
  • Tender or sore gums or pain while chewing
  • Bad breath, even after brushing or using mouthwash
  • Pus between your teeth
  • Loose or sensitive teeth
  • Spaces that look like little black triangles between your teeth

Beyond its effects on oral health, gum disease has been linked to a range of systemic health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. You need to treat periodontal disease for the sake of your teeth and gums and your overall well-being.

Gum Disease Treatments

At Aspire Dental, we can treat periodontal disease in several ways. A routine dental cleaning may be enough to reverse any symptoms if it is still in the very early stages. If you already have an accumulation of plaque or tartar, we can perform a debridement, which is a more careful, thorough cleaning than you receive at your checkup. This painless procedure takes about an hour and will require some follow-up visits to monitor the state of the disease afterward.

If the infection has spread underneath your gumline, we may recommend a scaling and root planing procedure. The scaling process removes tartar beneath the gumline, while root planing helps the gums reattach to the teeth. Occasionally, oral or topical antibiotics may be prescribed to help control the infection.

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In the most advanced cases of periodontitis, surgical treatment may be necessary. Gum flap surgery or a bone grafting procedure are two options for treating gum disease. If the disease has already caused teeth to fall out, we can deal with that issue—after we’ve treated the infection—with several tooth replacement options involving mini dental implants. Dental crowns, bridges, and dentures can all be supported by implants to provide a strong and stable way to replace missing teeth.

A Proactive Approach to Prevention

Preventing gum disease is infinitely preferable to treating it. Regular dental checkups, thorough brushing and flossing, and lifestyle choices such as a balanced diet and quitting smoking can significantly reduce the risk of developing gum disease. At Aspire Dental, our staff educates patients on the best practices for maintaining optimal oral hygiene and preventing gingivitis.

Schedule a Consultation Today

Don’t let gum disease compromise your health and quality of life. If you notice the signs and symptoms of gum disease, we encourage you to schedule an appointment today. Led by Dr. Hall and Dr. McNeil, our experienced team is ready to assess your condition, provide a detailed treatment plan, and support you every step of the way toward reversing gum disease and restoring your oral health.

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