2001 Alexander Dr, Dothan, AL 36301
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Gum problems

Gum Problems

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Understanding Gum Disease and the Treatment Options

nown as the “silent disease,” gum disease can cause severe damage to your oral health without you realizing it. Southern Pine Dental understands the damaging effects of gum disease. We emphasize diligent oral hygiene to keep this infection away from your mouth. Our dental team also offers periodontal care to prevent, detect, and treat gum disease.

How gum disease occurs

Gum or periodontal disease is an inflammation/infection of the gum tissues and the surrounding structures. Gum disease often begins when dental plaque accumulates on the teeth and along the gum line. Plaque is a sticky, colorless film that forms when harmful bacteria in the mouth mix with food particles and saliva.

Plaque is easily removable with regular oral hygiene. When plaque is not removed by regular brushing and flossing, it can irritate the gum tissue, causing a mild form of gum disease called gingivitis. Gingivitis causes mild symptoms such as gum redness, swelling, and bleeding when cleaning teeth. 

If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis. In periodontitis, the inflammation extends deeper into the teeth-supporting structures, including the bone. The gum tissue may start to pull away from the teeth, creating periodontal pockets where bacteria can thrive. Untreated periodontitis can cause tooth loss when harmful bacteria damage the teeth-supporting bone and ligaments.  

How gum infection is treated

Gum disease treatments can be intimidating, especially when they involve surgery. However, you’d be happy to hear that most gum disease cases can be treated with non-surgical methods. 

Gingivitis can be reversed with at-home oral hygiene and professional dental cleanings. However, if your gum disease is past the gingivitis stage, you need other interventions. Deep dental cleaning is a double-barreled treatment that combines scaling and root planing to combat gum infection. Scaling removes tartar and bacteria from deep periodontal pockets, while root planing smooths out your roots to promote healing and discourage future bacterial attacks. 

Gum disease requires surgery if the infection has caused irreparable damage to your gingival ligaments and surrounding bone. In such cases, you need gum flap surgery or bone and soft tissue grafting to restore oral health.

Preventing gum disease

Although gum disease can be sneaky, it can be prevented with simple oral hygiene practices. These include:

  • Brushing twice daily
  • Flossing at least once daily
  • Quitting tobacco use
  • Limiting intake of sugary foods
  • Keeping the mouth hydrated
  • Adhering to bi-annual dental appointments

Want to learn more about gum disease? Please dial (334) 686-0843 to talk to Drs. Durwood Nowell Jr. and Brooke Bell.

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