Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums surrounding your teeth. It is caused by plaque buildup that creates toxins that can damage the gums. Gum disease forms just below the gum line and creates small pockets that separate the gums from the teeth.
While it is possible to have gum disease and not know it, some symptoms can include:
- Gums that bleed easily
- Red, swollen, tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Bad breath
- Tooth mobility
Gum Disease: Who’s at risk?
Several factors can contribute to the development of gum disease, including:
- Poor home oral hygiene
- Poor-fitting dental restorations
- Use of tobacco in any form
While there are some risk factors you cannot change, such as genetics or medical conditions, it is possible to keep gum disease under control with proper care.
Treating Gum Disease
During each regular checkup, Dr. Lee and our hygiene team will check for signs of gum disease by measuring the space between your teeth and gums. If gum disease is present, the first step is scaling and root planing. At this stage, the disease is treatable and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing.
If the gum disease has progressed to periodontitis, it is not reversible. The damage to bone and tissue can’t be fixed, but we can stop it and help prevent it from getting worse. More frequent cleanings called periodontal maintenance are done to help gum heal and keep bacteria out until healing is done.
Preventing Gum Disease
The easiest way to prevent gum disease is to practice excellent home hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes and flossing at least once per day. It’s also important to visit our Sumter dental office every six months for professional cleanings and preventive exams.