Treating Gum Disease in Ft. Smith
Periodontal disease is a chronic condition that affects the gum tissue and bone under the gums. Swollen, bleeding gums are a major sign of periodontal disease. Good oral hygiene and a healthy diet are two primary factors in preventing the chronic condition -- but if it does develop, taking comfort knowing your trusted dentist, Dr. Gilbert Lopez, treats gum disease in Ft. Smith.
How Does Gum Disease Develop?
Gum disease is commonly caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar on teeth and around the gum line. Bacteria in biofilm (the combination of plaque and tartar) that is not removed daily through good oral hygiene builds up and gradually eats away at the healthy gum and bone tissue. Smoking and tobacco use aggravate gum disease and make it more difficult for the body to heal itself after the condition develops. Additionally, health conditions affecting the immune system often allow for the development of gum disease. Uncontrolled diabetes and is closely linked to periodontal conditions.
How Does My Dentist Detect Gum Disease?
When you come in for a cleaning at New Smile Dental, your dental hygienist will take note of any periodontal pockets to diagnose gum disease as we clean. These pockets are spaces where the bacteria causing gum disease lives -- and deep ones indicate the need for periodontal treatment.
Before you come into the dentist, though, you may notice some of the warning signs of gum disease on your own. These symptoms include…
- Bleeding gums after brushing and flossing
- Tender, red, swollen gums
- Chronic bad breath
- A bad taste in the mouth
- Gum recession (gums pulling away from the teeth)
- Sensitive teeth
- Shifting or loose teeth
What’s the Treatment for Gum Disease?
If we detect gum disease, the treatment we recommend will depend on the severity of the condition. In its beginning stages, it’s what we call gingivitis -- and gingivitis can be reversed with improved oral hygiene and maybe a couple extra visits to our office. After the periodontal pockets reach a certain depth, though, we will likely recommend non-surgical scaling and root planing (SRP). With this method, your dental team uses special tools to remove plaque and tartar from above and just below the gum line. Planing smooths the tooth’s root to prevent reinfection. SRP is usually carried out over the course of several visits to our office, and may be combined with antibiotic treatment for full healing.
In the most advanced stages of periodontitis, your dentist may recommend surgical treatment and gum grafting to replace lost gum tissue. We can refer you to a trusted oral surgeon for the most complex periodontal therapy needs.
Request an Appointment Today!
Regular preventive attention from your dentist can help keep gum disease at bay. When was your last visit to New Smile Dental? If it’s been awhile since you came in, or if you already know you need gum disease treatment, please don’t hesitate to come see us. Contact our office to schedule an appointment today!