Gum Disease Treatment in Lynnwood, WA

periodontitis

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums surrounding your teeth. Gum disease is one of the top reasons for tooth loss in adults, and because it is virtually pain-free, many patients do not know they have the disease. During each regular checkup, your dentist and hygienist will check for signs of periodontal disease by measuring the space between your teeth and gums.

What causes gum disease?

Gum Disease is caused by the bacteria that are always in our mouths. Some of us are more susceptible to this infection than others, depending on how well our body (our immune system) fights infection. Our ability to fight this infection can vary from day to day; week to week; depending on what else is going on with our life and health.

This bacteria creates a buildup of plaque (a sticky film that forms on the teeth), that if left untreated, will continue to build up and create toxins that can damage the gums. Periodontal disease forms just below the gum line and creates small pockets that separate the gums from the teeth. Periodontal disease has two stages: gingivitis and periodontitis.

  • Gingivitis — This is the early stage of gum disease, when the gums become red and swollen, and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is treatable and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing.
  • Periodontitis — If left untreated, gingivitis will advance into periodontitis, and the gums and bone that support the teeth will become seriously and irreversibly damaged. Gums infected with periodontitis can cause teeth to become loose, fall out, or be removed by a dentist.

Certain factors can increase a patient's risk of developing periodontal disease, including:

  • Smoking or using chewing tobacco
  • Diabetes
  • Certain types of medication such as steroids, anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, calcium channel blockers, and oral contraceptives
  • Crowns and Bridges that no longer fit properly
  • Crooked teeth
  • Old fillings
  • Pregnancy

While it is possible to have periodontal 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
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste
  • Pus between your teeth and gums
  • Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
  • Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • Any change in the fit of partial dentures

Treating Gum Disease

Treatments for gum disease can vary depending on the severity of each individual case. Typical treatments include:

  • Non-surgical treatments such as scaling and root planing (deep cleaning)
  • Periodontal surgery and laser gum surgery
  • Dental implants

Periodontal infection is not curable but it is treatable. Following your active therapy, the Doctor will recommend supportive periodontal maintenance to help you keep your infection under control and thus prevent further bone destruction. We now know that the bacteria that cause gum disease can become infectious in 45-90 days. Therefore, your interval for periodontal maintenance will be usually be 3 months.

Preventing Gum Disease

Regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are important for maintaining your health and the health of your smile. You don't have to lose teeth to periodontal disease, and by practicing good oral hygiene at home, you can significantly reduce your chances of ever getting gum disease. Remember to brush regularly, clean between your teeth, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits to help keep your smile healthy.