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Worried that you have Gum Disease?
Gum disease is extremely common in American adults. In fact, many people have early symptoms of the disease and don’t know it! While early symptoms are easy to overlook, treating gum disease early is crucial to prevent further dental damage and overall health complications. Your local Desert Ridge dentist Dr. Angela Dotson and her staff at Tatum Highland’s dentistry in North Phoenix strive to detect gum disease in the earliest of stages, stop the progression of the disease, and restore oral health whenever possible.
Understanding Gum Disease
The origin of gum disease is bacteria, which create a thin film called plaque on teeth. Daily brushing and flossing can remove plaque and keep bacteria growth to a minimum. However, when oral hygiene is neglected, the plaque hardens into tartar, which produces further bacterial growth. Professional cleanings remove the tartar buildup, but if left alone, the tartar will cause inflammation, redness and tenderness of the gums, known as gingivitis -- the first stage of gum disease.
As gingivitis progresses, bacteria, tartar and food particles will become trapped in growing pockets between the tooth and the gum line. This stage, known as periodontitis, the gums and teeth begin to separate, allowing the bacteria to begin attacking and damaging deeper into the softer tissue. The third and final stage finds the disease attacking bone and loosening teeth. As these structures continue to weaken, patients may experience tooth loss. Periodontal surgeries are used to stop the progression of periodontitis to prevent the spread of the disease to surrounding teeth, gums, and bone.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Gum disease isn’t necessarily difficult to diagnose - patients may recognize that their gums are a little tender. Gingivitis is often a silent disease and patients who do not see their dentist twice a year find themselves in advanced stages. However, rather than seek the necessary professional treatment, many just assume that if they brush a little harder, they can heal at home. Unfortunately, once tartar sets in, your toothbrush will not guard against the progression of gum disease.
If you are recognizing any symptoms of gingivitis, you need to visit your North Phoenix dentist for a cleaning. Initial signs of gum disease include:
- Swollen, soft gums
- Receding gum line
- Tender gums
- Gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss
- A change in the color of your gums
- Habitual bad breath
If gingivitis progresses to periodontal disease, these symptoms worsen. The gums may continue to recede, making the teeth appear longer, and the teeth may begin to separate or loosen. Other symptoms can include the presence of pus around the gum line and increased space between your teeth.
Our staff at Desert Ridge can catch gingivitis early on--meaning that there will be more treatment options. Our North Phoenix office can help you reverse the initial damage with regular professional cleaning when combined with consistent good oral hygiene habits.
Gum Disease Therapy in Desert Ridge
Unfortunately, if the disease progresses to the periodontitis stage, your condition will require therapy. Through gum disease treatment, Dr. Dotson will work to stop the progression to prevent further damage to your mouth. We here at Tatum Highlands Dentistry also offer more advanced gum disease treatments including:
- Antibiotics and medicated mouth rinse to help rid the infection
- Scaling and root planning (deep cleaning treatments)
- Pocket reduction
- Bone grafting
Contact Your Desert Ridge Dentist
If you're noticing signs of gum disease it's important to seek treatment right away.Contact us to schedule a visit at our North Phoenix dental office in Phoenix, or use our online scheduling system to request an appointment.