During regular dental exams, Dr. Danny O’Keefe will examine your gums to look for any signs of disease. When gum issues are detected in the early stages, they are much easier to treat. Periodontal care at our Flowood, MS, office can help you avoid the need for extensive, costly treatments in the future.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
More than half of all Americans suffer from periodontal disease, which is caused by a serious bacterial infection of the gums. This condition has been linked to increased risk of heart disease, stroke, dementia, diabetes complications, low birth weight, and other health conditions. If periodontal disease is not treated in a timely manner, it can have serious consequences.
Healthy gums are pink and firm, and do not bleed when you floss or brush. Signs of gum disease include:
- Swollen, red, tender, or bleeding gums
- Receding gums
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste in mouth
- Loose teeth
- Pus surrounding the teeth and gums
If you are experiencing any signs of periodontal disease, or if you do not have an established routine of six-month checkups with an experienced dentist, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with Dr. O'Keefe as soon as possible.
When gum issues are detected in the early stages, they are much easier to treat.
Stages of Periodontal Disease
Plaque is the clear, sticky substance that constantly forms on your teeth. It turns into tartar if it is not removed within 48 hours. Tartar can only be removed by a professional cleaning, and can otherwise lead to cavities and gum disease. There are several stages of periodontal disease, based on its severity. The mildest stage is gingivitis. Swelling of the gums is the main symptom of gingivitis, and it occurs as your body is fighting a bacterial infection. If you have gingivitis, your gums may bleed when flossing and brushing. Without proper care, the gums will begin to recede, exposing the tooth roots and leading to a host of other serious oral health issues. The effects of gingivitis are reversible if you receive professional periodontal care and practice good oral hygiene. However, in all stages, gum disease is a chronic condition, so recurrence is always a risk, and ongoing care is the best defense.
Treatment of Periodontal Disease
Gingivitis can be treated non-surgically with a prescription mouthwash that reduces gingivitis. Scaling and root planing, a process of removing plaque from below the gumline, can also fight gingivitis. Scaling involves thoroughly cleaning the tooth root surface, while root planing involves smoothing rough areas on the tooth roots. In advanced stages of periodontal disease, gum surgery such as pocket reduction procedures, regenerative procedures, crown lengthening, and soft tissue grafts, is usually necessary.
Contact Us Today for a Consultation
Gum disease can have consequences that reach far beyond the health of your smile. Dr. O'Keefe believes in preventive dentistry, helping patients avoid oral health issues, and treating any issues before they become more serious. If you are experiencing symptoms of periodontal disease, or simply need to establish ongoing care with an excellent dentist in your area, please contact us today.