Gingivitis & Periodontitis
Gingivitis and Periodontitis are gum diseases caused by proliferation of bacteria along and beneath the gums. Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease, beginning with symptoms like bleeding gums and inflammation. Although it is highly treatable, gingivitis, if left untreated, can progress into a more advanced stage of periodontal disease known as periodontitis. Periodontitis is diagnosed by the loss of supporting structures around teeth (gums and bone), jeopardizing the prognosis of teeth. Though still treatable, periodontitis requires more invasive treatments to prevent total tooth loss. The symptoms of gum disease may include:
- Reddened or swollen gums
- Gum tenderness
- Gums that easily bleed
- Persistently bad breath
- Receding gum line
- Gums that have pulled away from the base of the teeth, forming ‘pockets’
- Loose teeth
Did you know…
that gingivitis and periodontitis are both highly preventable diseases? Although approximately half the U.S. adult population suffers from some form of gum disease, many could have prevented it by brushing and flossing regularly, as well as visiting the dentist for periodic exams and professional teeth cleanings. Avoiding bedtime snacking or consuming foods that are high in sugar can also prevent the onset of periodontal disease, as can avoiding tobacco products, such as cigarettes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need treatment for gingivitis or periodontitis?
If you are experiencing any symptoms of gum disease, seek treatment immediately. Failure to treat periodontal disease can allow the condition to progress, eventually causing irreversible damage such as tooth loss. Gum disease often occurs and progresses without any pain or discomfort. However, just because it doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t a serious health concern. Unfortunately, by the time the disease does cause significant pain, it is often too late to save the affected teeth.
What should I expect during gingivitis or periodontitis treatment?
Your treatment will depend on the extent of your gum disease. If you are diagnosed with the beginnings of gingivitis, you may be given specific modifications to your oral hygiene and undergo an in-office cleaning treatment. If your periodontal disease is more advanced, you may need more advanced therapy to remove harmful bacteria and restore your gums back to health. In-office treatments are performed under a local anesthetic and sometimes sedation to maximize patient comfort. Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure (LANAP) may be an option for treatment of gum disease. Click here to learn more about LASER gum therapy.
Will I need to follow any special instructions after my treatment?
Gum disease is a bacterial infection. You may be prescribed an at-home antibiotic to take following your treatment. Your periodontist may also recommend consuming only soft foods in the days following your procedure, as well as using ice packs to reduce swelling and inflammation. Exact instructions will vary according to the type of treatment, so Dr. Nguyen will individually discuss specific post-procedural home care and oral hygiene with you.