Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common condition affecting many of our Madison cosmetic dentistry patients. It is an infection that affects the tissues and bones that surround and support the teeth. When treated in its earliest stages, it can be completely eradicated. When gum disease progresses past the early stages, however, it has the potential to inflict severe damage to the teeth and gums.
One of the aspects of gum disease that makes it especially dangerous is that it often goes unnoticed until it has progressed to its most damaging stage because patients often experience little to no pain during the early stage of gum disease. When gum disease is left untreated, it is likely to cause irreversible damage to the gums and teeth, which can lead to the loss of one or more teeth.
What Causes Gum Disease?
The formation and build-up of plaque on the surfaces of the teeth is the cause of gum disease. When acid found within the mouth combines with saliva, food particles, and mucus, plaque begins to form on the teeth. If plaque is not promptly removed from the surfaces of the teeth, tartar will eventually develop. Tartar is much harder than plaque and can only be removed through professional dental treatment. Both plaque and tartar cause the gums to become inflamed. As a result of the bacteria found within plaque and tartar, the gums become infected.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Gum disease has two main stages: gingivitis and periodontitis. During the early stage of gum disease, gingivitis, the majority of patients do not experience any pain or discomfort from the condition. During the second stage of gum disease, periodontitis, patients typically experience pain. Damage that occurs during this stage is irreversible. Sadly, periodontitis often results in the loss of one or more teeth. Symptoms of gingivitis include inflamed gums, bleeding gums during teeth brushing, gums that appear bright red or purple, gums that appear shiny, and gums that are tender to the touch. Symptoms of periodontitis include gums that bleed easily even when not touched, inflamed gums, receding gums, teeth that are loose or shifting in the mouth, and bad breath.
Gum Disease Treatments
For our patients in Madison, gum disease treatment may include professional dental cleaning, scaling and root planning, flap surgery, and in the case of the loss of one or more teeth due to gum disease, dental implants. Our Madison dental implants specialists Jay C. Hazen, DDS, and Chris Tamsen, DDS, will customize a gum disease treatment plan to your unique dental needs.
- Professional dental cleaning: During a professional dental cleaning, plaque and tartar are removed from the surfaces of the teeth as well as along the gum line. This dental treatment is recommended to all of our patients.
- Scaling and root planning: Plaque and tartar are removed from above and below the gum line during the scaling procedure. Any rough spots remaining on the roots of the teeth are smoothed away during the root planing procedure. By removing the rough spots, we are able to provide an area free of bacteria for the gums to reattach to.
- Flap surgery: While professional dental cleaning and scaling and root planning are effective treatments of gum disease for many of our Madison cosmetic dentistry patients, some will require further treatment. Flap surgery may be recommended when other treatments are unable to remove tartar build-up in the pockets of the gums. During flap surgery, the gums are lifted, and tartar is removed. Once this process has been completed, the gums are sutured snugly against the teeth.
- Dental implants: Dental implants are titanium posts used to replace the root structure of missing teeth. Dental implants are inserted into the jawbone, where they will be topped by a bridge, crown, or denture once the jawbone has fully grown around the implant.
Contact Dentistry for Madison Today
To learn more about gum disease treatments, please contact Dentistry for Madison today.