Can gum disease be cured?
Gum disease is a common dental ailment that can cause swelling, pain, and tooth loss. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC),
- 47.2% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease.
- 70.1% of adults 65 years and older have periodontal disease.
Good oral hygiene habits can help prevent gum disease, but the CDC notes that certain risk factors — such as smoking, diabetes, stress, and heredity — can increase your risk.
With that in mind, you’ll want to be aware of gum disease and its signs and stages so you can see a dentist for treatment as soon as possible, if it develops. Gum disease can not be cured, but you can stabilize the effects by attending regular dental cleanings.
Here’s what you need to know about gum disease and the treatment:
What is gum disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontitis, is caused by a buildup of plaque. If left untreated, plaque buildup can cause irritation and swelling that worsens over time and creates pockets between the inner layer of the gum and your teeth. These pockets can collect debris and cause infection that destroys the gum and bone, weakening the foundation of your teeth.
If left for too long, eroding gum and bone can lead to tooth loss; in fact, according to WebMD, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
Bacteria love plaque, so patients concerned about gum disease should see their dentist no longer than every four months. This gives us the opportunity to disrupt the bacteria before it sets up permanently in your gums.
Concerned you have gum disease? Contact our Ann Arbor dentists today.
What causes gum disease?
Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque from poor oral hygiene and/or other risk factors. For example, gum disease can be triggered by medical changes that may be occurring such as diabetes. Smoking can also contribute to the decline of gum health, although regular maintenance visits with your dentist can help curb the effects of it.
How do I know I have gum disease?
According to Mayo Clinic, symptoms of gum disease include:
- Swollen or discolored gums
- Gums that feel tender or bleed easily
- Bad breath
- Loose or lost teeth
- Gums that pull away from the tooth
What does gum disease look like?
Visible signs of gum disease are swollen or red gums. In more advanced cases, the gums will start receding from the tooth. A receding gum line moves upward to expose more of the tooth/tooth’s root, making the tooth look longer.
Gum disease stages
There are two stages to gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis.
- Gingivitis is a more mild and more easily treatable form of gum disease that is typically characterized by irritation and swelling of the gums.
- If left untreated, gingivitis can evolve into periodontitis, which begins to destroy the gum and bone. This puts you at risk of losing a tooth or teeth.
How to prevent gum disease
The Journal of the American Dental Association recommends the following steps to prevent gum disease:
- brush your teeth twice a day;
- clean between your teeth with floss or another interdental cleaner once every day;
- see your dentist for an examination and a professional cleaning regularly
- show your dentist or dental hygienist how you brush and clean between your teeth and ask if you can make any improvements
- if you smoke or chew tobacco, stop. Tobacco use increases the risk of gum disease.
At DGY Dentistry, we recommend regular preventative visits with our professional hygiene team. Your dentist and hygienist can determine whether you need to attend at three, four, or six-month intervals.
Learn more about preventative dental habits and how to improve gum health here.
How to treat gum disease
According to the American Association of Dentists, the first step in treating gum disease is typically scaling and root planing, a non-surgical process that helps gum tissue heal by “removing the plaque and tartar deposits on both the tooth and root surfaces.”
Scaling and root planing is all about the disruption of the bacteria that is attracted to the plaque. This is often done with the use of anesthesia for the comfort of the patient. After scaling and root planing, you will want to maintain the suggested recall period recommended by your dentist.
In many cases, this is enough to heal the pockets caused by gum disease. If it doesn’t, you may need periodontal surgery. This allows the dentist to “access hard-to-reach areas under the gum and along the roots where tartar and plaque have accumulated” so they can remove the source of infection and reduce the pocket size.
If the gum disease has eroded the gum tissue, your dentist may also use gum grafting to replace and/or enhance the tissue around the teeth. This improves the stability, shape, and aesthetics of the damaged gum line.
Can gum disease be cured at home?
More advanced cases of gum disease should always be treated by a dentist. Early intervention can stave off further gum health decline.
At DGY Dentistry, we see that patients who are committed to the process show tremendous improvement. Proper treatment can be an investment but makes a positive impact on your overall health.
How long does gum disease take to heal?
There is no real time line. Healing is dependent on the commitment to good home care and follow up visits with your dentist.
How to fix a loose tooth from gum disease
To fix a loose or missing tooth requires several steps:
- The first step is to treat the gum disease so the issue does not become worse.
- Once your oral health has been restored, any gum tissue or bone will need to be rebuilt with gum and bone grafting. This creates a strong band of gums to support your new and existing teeth.
- With a healthy framework in place, your dentist can replace the missing tooth with a dental implant that mimics the appearance and function of a natural tooth.
Your first line of defense against this type of issue is good preventative care and making sure you do not put off necessary dental treatments. Dentistry is expensive and when it has to be redone it is even more expensive.
Periodontists in Ann Arbor, Michigan
If you’re experiencing the symptoms of gum disease, it’s recommended you contact a dentist experienced in periodontal (gum) care as soon as possible to get an evaluation and treatment options that work best for you.
At DGY Dentistry Ann Arbor, we provide no-pressure consultations and transparent payment options so you can make informed decisions about your oral health. Our dentists combine expertise with creative vision to give you a healthy and attractive smile.
Contact our office with any questions you may have, and we can schedule a visit with one of our expert hygienists and dentists to discuss your situation. Information and education is the best way to eliminate fears and anxiety. Our team of professionals can work with you on a plan that fits your needs.