Gum disease is a highly common but damaging dental problem. It affects not only the gums but the health of the teeth. Gum disease begins when harmful bacteria build up between teeth and on the gum tissue, irritating and inflaming the gums. It can lead to gum recession and even loose teeth. Dr. Rebecca Benedict can restore patients’ oral health with periodontal disease treatment in Tampa, FL.
While gum disease begins with gum inflammation, harmful bacteria can quickly affect the teeth and gums. This bacteria builds up to form plaque, a bacterial film covering teeth and gums. Over time, plaque hardens to form calculus. Treating gum disease is a part of restorative dental care.
Signs of Gum Disease
Common symptoms of gum disease include:
- Bleeding gums
- Red and purple gums
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Swollen gum tissue
- Pus between the teeth and gums
Please get in touch with our office for treatment if you have noticed any of these symptoms. Gum disease can begin with bleeding gums and quickly turn into gum recession if you do not floss or brush enough. Treating gum disease is essential for your dental health and overall health.
Several conditions are also tied to gum disease:
- Diabetes: High blood sugar increases sugars in the saliva. Sugars and starches in the mouth attract harmful bacteria that break down the gum tissue.
- Heart Problems: As inflammation from gum disease enters the blood vessels, it can affect different parts of the body. If you have heart problems and develop gum disease, you will likely experience increased heart issues.
- Smoking: Tobacco products contain nicotine. Nicotine restricts the blood vessels. This makes it difficult for your gums to heal properly if you develop gum disease.
- Pregnancy: Hormone changes during pregnancy can lead to gum disease. Increased levels of the hormone progesterone can lead to increased gum sensitivity. It’s normal for pregnant women to notice problems like bleeding gums. While some patients may think they can’t see the dentist when pregnant, it’s safe for pregnant women to visit the dentist for routine care, including cleanings.
Stages of Gum Disease
There are four stages of gum disease:
- Gingivitis: Also known as gum inflammation, gingivitis is the only reversible stage of gum disease. You will notice bleeding gums when brushing your teeth and irritated gum tissue at this stage. Brushing and flossing twice daily will help prevent the development of gum disease.
- Mild Periodontitis: As gingivitis becomes periodontitis, you will notice gum pockets as the gums detach from teeth. Harmful bacteria can harden to form tartar. You will need scaling and root planing to remove bacteria from the gums and tooth roots.
- Moderate Periodontitis: As gum pockets deepen, bacteria damage the ligaments that support your teeth and gums. Only professional dental treatment can keep moderate gum disease in check.
- Advanced Periodontitis: This is the final stage of gum disease. The gum pockets will expose the tooth roots. It’s possible to experience tooth loss due to deep gum pockets. Only oral surgery can restore your teeth and gums.
Periodontal Disease Treatment in Tampa, FL
A prophylaxis cleaning removes plaque and calculus from the teeth and gums with stainless steel dental tools. We offer this cleaning at routine appointments to help prevent gum disease. Scaling removes plaque and calculus above and below the gum line. Patients with moderate to severe gum inflammation benefit from scaling treatment.
Scaling and root planing treatment removes plaque and calculus from the crown and root. This treatment benefits patients with gum disease and is therapeutic, not prophylactic (preventative). We also offer Oraqix, a needle-free anesthetic for SRP treatment, so patients will not feel any pain.
We can also treat infected gum tissue with a dental laser. The Waterlase laser offers a comfortable alternative to traditional surgical tools. This dental laser can clean the gum pockets and debride soft and hard tissue. This removes hard calculus from the smile.
Compared to traditional dental tools, lasers like the Waterlase are much quieter. With water and heat, the Waterlase laser can precisely treat the gums without affecting the other tissues.
Address Your Gum Health
Are you noticing signs of gingivitis or periodontitis? Schedule your next dental appointment with Dr. Benedict online. You can also call Dr. Benedict for care today at 813-733-6981. Let us know if you have any concerns about gum health or questions about gum disease treatment. We’re here to help you.