Periodontal (gum) disease is one of the most common oral health concerns. Some studies indicate that more than 50% of US adults over the age of 30 have some level of gum disease. This oral health condition has subtle symptoms that are typically unrecognized by patients. That’s one of the many reasons why it’s so important to visit your trusted dentist, Benjamin J. Hodges, DMD, and his caring dentistry team at one of our two Hodges Dental Clinics in Fort Walton Beach and Pensacola twice a year for preventive dentistry appointments. We’ll examine your smile during every six month dental checkup for the early warning signs of gum disease. In many cases, we’re able to partner with you to prevent the disease before it begins, and we can offer periodontal therapy to renew oral health if you are suffering from this common condition. If you would like to find out more or it’s time for your biannual dental exam, give our team a call. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have or schedule an appointment for you in our Pensacola or Fort Walton Beach dental offices.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an oral health condition that occurs when plaque and tartar buildup irritate soft tissue leading to inflammation, irritation, and infection that can cause the break down of soft tissue and bone structure. In the earliest stages, gum disease is often referred to as gingivitis. The symptoms at this stage are very mild. In the more advanced stage, periodontitis, the symptoms are much more severe and can be extremely detrimental to both oral and overall health.
Do I Have Periodontal Disease?
The only way to know for sure is to receive an accurate diagnosis from a professional, so it’s important that you contact us right away if you notice any of the following warning signs of gum disease:
- Gums the look red, swollen, or inflamed
- Gums that bleed during brushing or flossing
- Infection or sores on the soft tissue
- Teeth that seem to shift or bite that doesn’t seem to fit together
- Teeth that look longer or gums seeming to recede
- Chronic bad breath that does not improve after cleaning
How is Gum Disease Treated?
In the early stages, more frequent professional teeth cleanings combined with improved at-home hygiene may be enough to renew your oral health. In the more advanced stages of periodontal disease, we will likely recommend some combination of the following treatments in addition to more frequent teeth cleaning appointments:
- Scaling – the systematic removal of plaque and tartar buildup at and below the gum line
- Root planing – smoothing of the surfaces of the tooth roots to prevent additional buildup of plaque and tartar
- Antibiotic therapy – oral and/or topical antibiotics may be prescribed to reduce the numbers of plaque-producing bacteria in the mouth, reducing risk for plaque buildup at the gums