Gum disease is a progressive infection of the gums that originates from improper observation of the oral hygiene. How exactly does a gum disease start? When you don’t brush and floss your teeth properly, there’s formation of plaque which accumulates with time to form tartar. Plaque harbors bacteria that are harmful to your gums.
You might have experienced gum disease knowingly or unknowingly. Gum disease affects more than 70% of American adults at the age of 65 and above, but there have been cases of individuals at the age of 30 years infected. Are you wondering how gum disease presents itself? You don’t have to wonder anymore here are the signs and symptoms of gum disease.
Signs Of Gum Disease
- Are your teeth sensitive to cold or hot foods and drinks?
- Is your gum bleeding whenever you brush and floss?
- Is your gum swollen and painful?
- When you observe your gum in the mirror is it reddish?
- Are you experiencing pain when you chew food?
- Do you have bad breath even though you’ve brushed your teeth?
If you are experiencing one or more of these signs and symptoms it is most likely you are suffering from gum disease. It is advisable to see a dentist before the condition becomes chronic and irreversible.
Understanding gum disease
Once the layers of plaque have built up, it becomes hard to remove it by routine brushing. The reason why it is essential to visit a dentist twice a year to eliminate any plaque and tartar buildup. Gum disease is classified into several categories.
Stages Of Gum Disease
- Gingivitis which is the early stage of gum disease. When the gum disease is in this stage, it can be treated and cured.
- Periodontitis is the stage where the disease has advanced. When the gum disease has reached this stage, it becomes extremely difficult to treat it as the extreme damage has already started to take its toll. The gums and bones that hold the teeth in place becomes weaker and wears out forming pockets where the bacteria thrive.
- Advanced stage of periodontitis is the damaging stage of gum disease where the teeth can’t be saved. In this stage eating and talking becomes disrupted because of the pain presented by the infection.
Gum Disease Examination
Gum disease can be diagnosed in various ways, but the most common ones are;
- Measuring gum pockets- The dentist will use a specialized tool to measure the depth of your gum pocket which in normal circumstance should be 1mm-3mm deep. In the case, your gum pockets are more in-depth than the average depth you have gum disease.
- Dental x-ray- The dentist will x-ray your teeth to see if the infection has reached your bones and teeth roots.
Treatment And Management
Gum diseases can be managed at its early stages, but when it is in the advanced stage, a surgical procedure may be required to remove the infected part.
1. Traditional dental surgery
There are several traditional ways that your dentist will treat gum disease. Your dentist will try to use non-surgical means called scaling and root planing. If your gum disease is more advanced then your dentist will suggest you have one of several surgical procedures to remove the bacteria that are infecting your gums.
2. Laser Dentistry
Laser dentistry has been around over the decades, and it is approved by the FDA. It is the safest and most convenient surgical method of treating gum disease.
What Is Laser Dentistry?
Laser dentistry1 is a less invasive procedure used in the treatment of gum disease and other oral infections. In this medical procedure, a laser is used to remove small amounts of tissue that is infected. A laser is used to treat, remove inflammation and to reshape the gum. Dr. Lance Ogata from Smile Hawaii2 adds, “Before laser-assisted periodontal therapy, repairing the severe decay and bacteria buildup caused by advanced gum disease required making incisions in the gum tissue to access the upper tooth portions to clean them thoroughly. While this approach was effective in reducing bacteria build-up, it required significant recovery time and could be uncomfortable. By contrast, laser dentistry3 for the treatment of gum disease… is a non-surgical, minimally-invasive approach to reverse the effects of the periodontal disease for a healthy smile.
Why Laser Dentistry Is Preferred Over Other Treatments
The benefits of laser dentistry are apparent, and most dentists prefer it because the patients are comfortable during the procedure and the recovery time is reduced. Here are some of the pros of laser dentistry.
- Since the procedure involves minimal invasion suturing isn’t necessary.
- The procedure is less painful, and hence anesthesia is used at smaller doses than usual.
- A laser is a sterilizer, and during the treatment process, it sterilizes the area it is working on, and the likelihood of infection is not possible.
- Laser treatment works only on the infected area of the gum and damage to the gum isn’t experienced.
How A Laser Works
A laser uses a beam of light on the affected area to perform a dental surgical procedure. In this case, the laser acts as a scalpel to remove the infected gum. In other dental procedures such as teeth whitening, it serves as a bleaching agent.
The laser dentistry procedure is similar to other dental procedures, and the only difference is the comfortability during the procedure because there’s less pain involved. It takes less time than the conventional process, and you don’t have to wait.
What To Expect With Laser Dentistry Treatment.
Since the gum is infected from above to deep inside, the dentist will start from the gum on the surface and remove the infected part. The laser removes plaque and microorganisms from the root and under the gum. The dentist then completes by smoothing the root to inhibit the buildup of plaque in the future. Laser treatment can be a sterilizer, but it is necessary for you to observe complete oral hygiene throughout the healing period to avoid infections.