Your Guide to Periodontal Disease in Waxahachie, TX
Most people don’t think it’s a big deal if their gums start to bleed when they brush their teeth. However, bleeding or swollen gums is usually an early sign of periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. If the infection spreads, it can damage the structures that support your teeth and cause irreparable damage or tooth loss.
If caught early, the effects of gum disease can be reversed. It’s important to schedule an appointment as soon as you notice any signs of gum disease so we can prevent further damage and restore your oral health. Dr. Scott Clinton and our dental team are dedicated to helping you and your family get the best dental care you need in the south Dallas area. Learn more about gum disease and how to prevent further infection here.
The Stages of Gum Disease
Stage 1 – Gingivitis
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and is characterized by plaque buildup at the gumline. Even with proper brushing and flossing, plaque can build up in hard-to-reach places and cause infection below the gums.
You may notice bleeding during brushing and flossing. However, some patients don’t show any symptoms during this stage. The roots of the teeth aren’t yet affected and the effects can be reversed with a thorough cleaning at our office.
Stage 2 – Periodontitis
The second stage of gum disease is more severe and has lasting effects, often referred to as periodontitis. This happens when connective fibers and tissues have been damaged beyond repair.
During periodontitis, pockets develop below your gum line and cause your gums to recede. These pockets are prone to bacterial buildup where infection can penetrate through the gums and result in infection.
During this stage, we can prevent further damage with a deep cleaning known as scaling and root planing. Our dentists will also recommend a more thorough at-home oral hygiene routine to ensure your pockets stay clear of bacteria buildup.
Stage 3 – Advanced Periodontitis
Advanced periodontitis is the most severe form of gum disease, and is likely to require surgery to repair your gums. At this stage, tooth loss becomes increasingly likely, as the fibers that hold your teeth in place have sustained irreparable damage.
We’ll make every attempt to save your tooth. However, at this stage teeth tend to loosen or shift and you may need a tooth extraction to restore your oral health and stop the spread of infection.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
While some patients may not notice any signs of gum disease, you’ll want to keep a lookout for any symptoms. Putting off treatment can cause irreparable damage. Common symptoms of gum disease include:
- Red and swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Painful or tender gums, especially while chewing
- Bad breath
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gum line
If you have gum disease, contact our Waxahachie office immediately to schedule an appointment by calling (972) 885-3335. We’ll restore your oral health so you can enjoy your smile free of the harsh symptoms that come with gum disease.
Causes of Gum Disease
Gum disease is typically a process that occurs over the course of years but it can come on strong and have immediate effects. There are a variety of causes linked to gum disease, including:
- Poor oral hygiene
- A change in hormones
- Family history
- Other health issues
While some patients may think their oral care routine is enough, it’s always best practice to come into our Waxahachie office for biannual checkups and professional cleanings. We’ll do everything we can to address all of those hard-to-reach areas. We’ll also explain ways you can make the most out of your at-home routine so your teeth and gums stay in excellent condition for years to come.
If caught early on, gum disease can be treated with a deep cleaning known as scaling and root planing. During this treatment, we’ll use special tools to scale off plaque and tartar on your teeth and in pockets that have formed.
Then, we’ll smooth the roots of your teeth to prevent bacteria from reattaching and to keep your mouth free of infection. Depending on the extent of the infection, we may prescribe an antibiotic or mouthwash to ensure the infection is completely eradicated.
If pockets have started to form at the gum line, our dentists will recommend coming in more frequently for deep cleaning.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is gum disease contagious?
While gum disease isn’t very contagious, harmful bacteria in the teeth and gums can be passed on through saliva. It’s important to practice good oral hygiene habits and schedule biannual dental check-ups at our Waxahachie office with one of our dentists to prevent harmful bacteria from building up and developing into gum disease.
Can gum disease be cured?
Once the disease has reached advanced stages known as periodontitis, it can’t be reversed, but our dentists may recommend more frequent visits to stop the disease from progressing. If the disease is caught early on in the gingivitis stage, it can be reversed with a deep cleaning at our Waxahachie office.
In addition to deep cleaning, you’ll want to be diligent about your oral hygiene care following your treatment by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and rinsing between meals. If you suspect you have gum disease, don’t wait for the symptoms to get worse. It’s vital to treat gum disease right away to stop the disease from progressing. Schedule an appointment with our office by calling (972) 885-3335 and we’ll help restore your oral health.
How can I keep my gums healthy?
In addition to scheduling biannual checkups at our office, you’ll want to follow a few recommendations to keep your gums healthy, including:
- Brushing twice a day
- Flossing daily
- Rinsing between meals
- Stop smoking
- Eating tooth-healthy foods including calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C
While these remedies may help keep your gum disease at bay, once the symptoms have set in, you’ll need to have a deep cleaning to restore your oral health.
How soon after a deep cleaning will the symptoms go away?
After a deep cleaning, any discomfort and swelling will usually subside within a few weeks. The time it takes for the symptoms to completely subside depends on the extent of the infection. In addition to following any recommendations by our dentists, you’ll want to rinse with warm salt water to keep your mouth free of bacteria and promote gum healing. In the meantime, you can use over-the-counter pain relievers and ice to help with any discomfort and swelling.
We Want to Restore Your Oral Health
Together we can stop the progression of gum disease. Contact our Waxahachie office to schedule an appointment by calling (972) 885-3335 or filling out the contact form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. We’re proud to provide quality dental care in the surrounding south Dallas area such as Red Oak, Midlothian, Maypearl, and Ennis. We look forward to seeing you!