Impact and Benefits
Gum disease is a common dental problem among adult Canadians. If you have been diagnosed with chronic gum disease, you may be at risk of losing your teeth.
Periodontal disease may progress painlessly, producing few obvious signs, even in the late stages of the disease. The condition, however, is not entirely without warning signs.
- Gums that bleed during and after tooth brushing
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
- Receding gums
- Formation of deep pockets between teeth and gums
- Loose or shifting teeth
- Changes in the way teeth fit together on biting, or in the fit of partial dentures.
Some people have gum disease only around certain teeth, such as those in the back of the mouth, which they cannot see. Only a dentist or a periodontist–a dentist who specializes in gum disease–can recognize and determine the progression of gum disease.
The good news is that with great dental care, and proper dental habits at home, gum disease can almost always be prevented. In its early stages, gum disease can be stopped and sometimes even reversed when treated.
Once you develop periodontitis, it isn’t as easy to control. Usually there is widespread infection of your gums that needs to be treated. This may require several specialized treatments either by our dentist or a periodontist.
Some of the ways our dentist or the periodontist may treat periodontitis are:
Scaling or Root Planing: These deep-cleaning measures involve scraping and removing plaque and tartar from teeth above and below the gum line.
Antibiotics: These and other medications are often used together with scaling and root planing to stop the spread of infection and inflammation in the mouth. They come in several different forms that range from medicated mouthwashes to antibiotic-containing gels or fibres that are placed in gum pockets to slowly kill bacteria and help gums to heal.
Surgery: Advanced cases of periodontitis may require a dentist to open and clean badly diseased gum pockets, then stitch the gums back into place to fit more snugly around the teeth.
Gingival Grafting: If gum tissue is too diseased to sew back together, a dentist removes healthy gum tissue from another part of the mouth and transplants it into place. The graft replaces the diseased tissue and helps to anchor the teeth, giving them an improved appearance.
While undergoing treatment for periodontitis, it’s especially important to take special care of your teeth and gums to see lasting improvement. This includes flossing and brushing every day and quitting habits that mean bad news for the mouth, such as smoking or eating sugary snacks between meals.