Gum Disease: Prevention and Treatment Options

Gum Disease in Harrisburg, NC | Signs and Symptoms | Dr. Ney

Many problems are easy to solve if you catch them early enough, but they can be much more difficult to deal with if you let them linger. Think of stopping the snowball just before it rolls down the hill, finding the water damage before it spreads, or catching the first few dominoes before they knock down the other hundred. These examples are much easier to fix if you can identify the issue quickly, right? The same principle applies to gum disease. The treatment for gum disease in its early stages is simple and effective and can eliminate or reverse symptoms. However, gum disease is a progressive illness that won’t go away on its own, so catching it early makes a big difference.

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum Disease in Harrisburg, NC | Signs and Symptoms | Dr. NeyGum disease, or periodontitis, is an advanced stage of gum infection that affects the oral health of millions every year. In America alone, over 47% of adults aged 30 and up have some form of gum disease. Primarily stemming from poor oral hygiene, this condition is caused by bacteria surrounding your tooth and the buildup of plaque, which causes inflammation that leads to periodontal disease. Gum disease will not get better on its own; it will only get worse, and at a certain point, there is no reversing it, only managing it.

Early Stages

The early stage of gum disease is also known as gingivitis. In this stage, the bacteria on and around your teeth cause your gums to become red and swollen. You may feel discomfort in your mouth or experience some mild bleeding, especially when brushing or rinsing in the sink. At this point, your gum disease is still reversible with proper dental hygiene or a professional cleaning from Dr. Ney.

Progressive Stages

If left unchecked, gum disease will develop into mild periodontitis. When bacteria stay on your teeth long enough, they interact with the leftover sugars and starches in your mouth to form plaque, a filmy, sticky substance that eats away at your tooth enamel and causes decay. After approximately 72 hours, the plaque will harden into tartar, a yellowish substance only removable by a dentist. You’ll notice bad breath, pain while chewing, and more intense bleeding and soreness by this stage.

Advanced Stages

As the plaque passes under the gumline, it causes the gums to pull away from the teeth. This creates periodontal pockets of infection and loosens the tooth. Eventually, the tooth will fall out, and the disease will continue to spread to the surrounding teeth and gum tissue. Once periodontitis has advanced this far, we can only manage the condition and deal with tooth decay or loss through extractions and restorative dental options like mini dental implants, crowns, bridges, and dentures.

Periodontal Maintenance

If gum disease has already taken hold, there are some treatment options we can explore, depending on the level of infection. Dr. Ney’s approach to periodontal maintenance encompasses a range of treatments designed to cater to each patient’s specific needs, from routine cleanings to address gingivitis to advanced interventions for severe periodontitis.

One non-surgical treatment option is scaling and root planing. This treatment often takes multiple visits, depending on how advanced the infection has become. After applying anesthesia, Dr. Ney uses a hand scaler to scrape the plaque off your teeth and under your gums. Then, he’ll smooth out your tooth root to help prevent bacteria from reattaching. This procedure can reach much deeper than regular brushing and flossing can.

Advanced periodontitis can sometimes require a type of oral surgery called pocket reduction surgery, which targets plaque and tartar near your tooth roots. If the disease has already eroded a significant portion of bone surrounding the tooth, Dr. Ney may recommend a bone grafting procedure to help add volume and density back to the area.

Prevention and Early Detection of Gum Disease

The most effective way to combat gum disease is never to allow it to take hold in the first place! That’s easier said than done, but regular check-ups, proper oral hygiene, and a healthy lifestyle are all excellent preventative measures. Our commitment to battling periodontitis extends beyond clinical treatments; it’s about empowering our patients with the knowledge and tools to prevent its onset. However, should you notice some of the symptoms of gum disease mentioned above, you should schedule an appointment with our office immediately. Let Dr. Ney examine your situation and recommend the appropriate treatment option.

Take Action Against Gum Disease Today

If you’re struggling with gum disease, know you’re not alone. Dr. David Ney and our dedicated team in Harrisburg, NC, are here to support you every step of the way. From advanced treatment options to financial assistance, we are committed to providing comprehensive care tailored to your needs. Call today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Ney and embark on the path to a healthier, more confident smile. Together, we can tackle gum disease head-on, restoring oral health and retaining quality of life.

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