Posted on: 14 March 2018
Many older Americans suffer from some form of gum disease, which can cause painful, bleeding, swollen gums. If you have noticed bleeding while brushing or your gums feel inflamed, you may be developing gingivitis. Check out these four frequently asked questions regarding gum disease.
Is Gum Disease Reversible?
When you first develop gum disease, you likely have gingivitis, which usually has mild symptoms, such as mild swelling and bleeding while brushing/flossing. At this stage, gingivitis is still incredibly easy to reverse and cure. In some cases, with proper at-home care, you may be able to start curing it yourself. If you don't treat your gingivitis, however, it may advance to periodontitis, which is usually considered non-reversible. At this stage, you can manage the disease to keep symptoms at bay.
Does Gum Disease Only Affect Gums?
One reason periodontitis is so difficult to manage is that it doesn't just affect the gums. With gingivitis, you likely have some discomfort in the gum tissue only. As it worsens, your gums begin to recede, which allows the infection to grow faster. Once you have periodontitis, the jaw bone is also affected. The jaw bone shrinks, making it difficult for it to support the teeth. This, coupled with receding gums makes it easy for your teeth to fall out, and until you get your periodontitis under control, your dentist won't want to replace the missing tooth with anything but dentures.
What Are Non-Surgical Treatments?
If you have gingivitis, a good deep cleaning with scaling and root planing can be just what you need to get rid of the existing tartar and bacteria. At home, following continuing care will help reverse and cure your gum disease. Your dentist may also prescribe some antibiotics, which can be consumed orally or placed directly in the gum pockets after cleaning. These methods are also good for maintaining periodontitis.
Is Surgery Ever Required?
If your periodontitis has gone untreated for too long, you may require surgical treatments to correct the symptoms. For example, if your gums have receded so far they show much of your tooth root, you may need a gum graft. The dentist takes gum from another part of your body and grafts it to the area in need. Another possibility is a bone graft, which will be necessary if you decide to get dental implants after your gum disease is treated or managed.
Gum disease is not a normal part of aging, but so many people suffer from this painful disease. Routine dental care at the dentist and home are your best weapons for fighting gum disease. For more information about treating gum disease or dental cleanings, contact a dentist in your area today and schedule a cleaning.Share