Gum disease is a progressive infection of the gums. In its early stages, gum disease can be treated by getting back-on-track with a proper oral hygiene routine and cleanings from your dentist. In its later stages, the condition may require more specialized treatment by your dentist to stop its progression.
An experienced dentist in Denver, Colorado, Dr. Scott Greenhalgh is committed to achieving your best oral health. He can provide gum disease treatment along with other general dentistry services. For help maintaining or improving your gum health, please call 303-988-9060 today.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Gum disease is also called periodontal disease, and it has two stages:
- Gingivitis: Bacteria in plaque cause your gums to become inflamed.
- Periodontitis: Your gums pull away from your teeth. The resulting pockets can become infected by the bacteria in plaque.
What are the causes of gum disease?
Poor dental hygiene is the main cause of gum disease. As plaque builds up around the teeth and gums, the bacteria in the plaque will get stuck beneath the flap of the gum tissue. Lodged there in the tissue it begins to create inflammation and infection, which signifies the presence of gum disease.
What Are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?
Early gum disease rarely causes symptoms. Later stages of the infection may cause red-purple gums that bleed easily, chronic bad breath; tender, swollen gums and loose teeth. Periodontitis develops only if gingivitis remains untreated.
If periodontitis continues to progress untreated, the bone and ligaments supporting your teeth break down. Eventually, your teeth can become loose within their bone sockets and may ultimately fall out.
Throughout the stages of gum disease, Dr. Greenhalgh can intervene to stop the progression of the disease and prevent tooth loss.
Can my teeth be saved if I have periodontal disease?
Yes, oftentimes teeth can be saved even if you have periodontal disease. It is true that in the most advanced stages, gum disease may require a tooth to be removed in order to re-establish oral health. But there are treatments that can be performed before tooth extraction becomes necessary. It’s important to go to your regularly scheduled dental check-ups so that treatments – when necessary – can be provided in early stages of dental problems.
What are the stages of gum disease?
Gum disease can most easily be categorized by gingivitis and periodontitis. The former is marked by:
- Swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Gums that have shrunk back (recession)
- Red, inflamed gums
As the condition progresses to periodontitis, the gum recession will worsen. The inflammation may spread to the bone beneath the teeth. The teeth may become loose and wobbly. It’s generally a more advanced form of gum disease.
There are stages within gingivitis and periodontitis. As an experienced dentist, Dr. Scott Greenhalgh can determine how to intervene to treat the stage of inflammation that you are experiencing.
What Our Patients Have to Say
"Dr. Greenhalgh has been our dentist for more than 10 years. He was referred by the Bruce Family, who are very close friends. We enjoy our care with the facility. Although we have moved to Arvada, we do not mind going out of our way to get the constant good dental care we have had all these years. Congratulations on any award you receive, Dr. Greenhalgh. You surely will receive our business now and in the future."
Dear Dr. Greenhalgh, I want to thank you for your thoughtful call this morning. I am doing well. It is always a pleasure to come to your office. Your staff is wonderful. Mary Ann and Pamela are not only great people, they are professionals. I look forward to my next appointment!
Gum Disease Risk Factors
This infection is caused by bacteria in plaque and tartar. Filmy dental plaque on your teeth hardens into tartar if not removed, and this tartar can invade your gums and infect the surrounding structures.
Various factors may increase your risk for gum disease, including:
- Poor dental hygiene
- Chronic illnesses and infections
- Increased hormone levels, such as caused by stress, pregnancy and birth control pills
- Certain medications, including those for blood pressure, cancer and epilepsy
What happens if gum disease is not treated?
It is possible that you may eventually need a tooth pulled if gum disease is untreated. Before that becomes necessary, you may experience pain and discomfort from the inflammation. Obviously these are situations we want you to avoid. It’s just about always true that it’s better to get ahead of a dental problem, no matter which stage it’s currently in. Ignoring the problem may cause unnecessary pain and expense.
How is Gum Disease Prevented?
Visiting the dentist every six months is a very effective way to prevent gum disease. The cleaning you receive from a hygienist removes tartar you cannot remove yourself. During an exam, our dentist can spot signs of infection in their early stages, and can provide treatment to stop gum disease before it gets worse.
Dr. Greenhalgh also provides treatment for periodontitis and advanced stages of gum disease requiring scaling and root planing or other treatments.
What treatment options are available for gum disease?
There are many gum disease treatments. The right one for you depends on the progression of the disease and other factors. Some of the most common ways to combat this condition include:
- Deep cleaning
- Improved at-home dental hygiene routine
- Scaling and root planing (the removal of tartar from the teeth and the process of smoothing out the roots of the teeth to prevent buildup)
Dr. Greenhalgh can determine the right treatment for you based on how far the infection has advanced.
What steps can be taken at home to prevent gum disease?
Taking care of your teeth and gums is the main way to prevent gum disease:
- Brush your teeth twice a day, every day, for two minutes each time
- Floss once every day
- Avoid foods that are bad for your dental health, like added sugar and lots of processed snacks
- Drink plenty of plain water and limit your consumption of soda, fruit juices, and sports drinks
Sometimes gum disease has a genetic component, or you may be predisposed to gum disease in some other way. Dr. Greenhalgh may provide a different dental hygiene plan to you, in order to put a stop to gum disease. This may include more frequent dental visits, certain mouthwashes, or other tactics. Rely on us for personalized recommendations.