gum disease treatment prevention oral care grand rapids grand haven dentists mi

With regards to oral health, most people when asked would probably say that their teeth are what matter most. What shouldn’t be overlooked, however, is the condition of your gums. If your gums are not healthy and are showing signs of gum disease, our West Michigan dentists warn that it can be detrimental to the rest of your mouth.

Fortunately, when gum disease is still in its early stages, it is reversible. You can even prevent the onset of a periodontal disease entirely with proper oral hygiene habits. Yet, if you notice tenderness, pain, or discomfort, our dentists can help.

Here are the primary stages of gum disease, common symptoms, and what treatment looks like for patients.

Stages of Gum Disease

The earliest stage of gum disease is gingivitis. It is typical at this stage for the gums to become inflamed and easily bleed during tooth brushing or flossing. Any sensitivity that results at this point in time is due to plaque buildup along your gum line that later hardens into tartar.

Related Post -> Why Are My Teeth Sensitive?

When an individual experiences gingivitis, they have gum irritation but do not yet have any irreversible bone or tissue damage and their teeth are still firmly intact. The best way to treat and reverse gingivitis is to thoroughly brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily. Our dentists also recommend you receive a professional teeth cleaning and proceed to have one every 6 months for good oral health.

It is when gingivitis is left untreated and able to progress, that it develops into periodontitis which is much more serious. Periodontitis encapsulates the later stages of gum disease and has greater oral health consequences. Unlike gingivitis which is reversible, periodontitis is a long-term and chronic condition.

Later stages of periodontitis can lead to destroyed bone tissue, loosened teeth, tooth loss, and the pockets between your gums and teeth becoming deeper. Our dentists will probe these pockets to diagnose the stage of gum disease that you have. For reference, a depth measurement of 4 to 5 millimeters will indicate slight periodontal disease and require specialized cleaning beyond at-home care. Moderate periodontal disease is associated with a measurement of 6 to 7 millimeters while the most advanced form is 7 millimeters or greater.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to come to this as gum disease can largely be prevented with consistent oral care and teeth cleanings every 6 months.

Gum Disease Symptoms to Look Out For

It can be easy to ignore certain symptoms of gum disease. For example, if you notice your gums becoming a bit red or bleeding during flossing, you might think you’ve just been too heavy- handed.

Gentle Flossing Tips -> Do I Really Need to Floss?

Regarding your gums, if you experience any new discomfort or a changed appearance, it’s important that you see our dentists before your condition progresses beyond quick treatment.

The symptoms listed below do not always guarantee that you have gum disease, but you should take note of them, nonetheless.

Key warning signs include:

  • Gums that are red, swollen, or tender
  • Receding gums
  • Gums that bleed when brushed or flossed
  • Loose teeth
  • Persistent bad breath 

The earlier concerning symptoms are caught, the easier it is for both you and our dentists to treat them.

Available Gum Disease Treatment

Through restorative dentistry efforts, varying degrees of gum disease can be effectively treated. One form of treatment for periodontal disease is scaling and root planing. Essentially, it involves a deep cleaning of your gums and teeth.

As mentioned above, those afflicted with gum disease have deep gum pockets around their teeth which allows food particles and plaque to settle there. For this type of treatment, our dentists will remove the plaque and tartar from and below the gum line.

After that, they will smooth out your tooth roots to aid your gums in reattaching to the teeth. Gum recession is a common problem for those dealing with periodontal disease, so this is a necessary step.

Other than this procedure, it’s all about formulating proper oral hygiene habits and sticking to them. Certain antibiotic medications, products, or techniques may also be recommended to you by our dentists to help keep your mouth healthy.

Schedule an Appointment Today 

Have you noticed new symptoms similar to those mentioned above and feel you might be experiencing some stage of gum disease? Our dentists serving West Michigan, are well versed in treating patients struggling with gum disease. Call one of our locations today or contact us online to schedule an appointment. We’ll help you find relief!

This blog post has been updated.