As a family dentist in Fallston, one of our primary goals is to treat and prevent gum disease. Our Bel Air area dentist office has a strong dental hygiene department with excellent dental hygienists who can provide you with anything from a gentle routine cleaning to effective treatment of periodontal disease.
Gum disease has two main stages: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease. Your dentist can easily treat it and reverse it with strict oral health care habits and routine teeth cleanings. Periodontitis is more serious. It can cause receding gums, bone loss and even tooth loss.
Many factors can lead to gum disease. These include smoking or chewing tobacco, certain medications, fillings, crooked teeth, systemic disease, improper home care, and irregular dental cleanings. We recommend practicing a regimented oral care routine, scheduling regular oral health check ups and avoiding smoking to prevent gum disease.
Symptoms Of Gum Disease
Because gum disease is usually not painful, most patients may not know they have it until it is too late. Biannual dental check-ups can help detect gum disease early for conservative treatment. Warning signs of gum disease are:
- Bleeding gums
- Receding gums
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Changes in the bite including fit of dentures
Stages of Periodontal Disease
Gingivitis: The first stage is known as gingivitis. This is the earliest stage of the disease, and if caught, it can be reversed easily. It does not cause severe pain, and some patients will not even be aware that they have developed it. Signs of gingivitis may include swollen or inflamed gums, and bleeding while brushing and flossing. Another major sign is chronic bad breath. If you are experiencing any of these schedule a visit with our office. It is crucial that you treat the disease in its earliest stages so that it cannot cause permanent damage.
Slight Periodontal Disease: The second stage is slight periodontal disease. In this stage, damage cannot be reversed, however we can still stop the disease from progressing and prevent any further damage. Signs may include red or discolored gums, swollen gums, bleeding, and sensitivity to temperature. Your gums may also begin to form pockets around the teeth that house bacteria and plaque. Although pervious damage cannot be reversed in this stage it is still crucial that we treat it to prevent further progression and damage.
Mild Periodontal Disease: The third stage is known as mild periodontal disease. This stage is more serious and puts patients at risk for bone deterioration and potential tooth loss. Once a patient has reached this stage, their teeth and bones will have started to deteriorate. This damage is irreversible. Although damage cannot be reversed, it is still crucial to seek treatment to prevent the disease from progressing and prevent further tooth loss and loss of jaw function.
Advanced Periodontal Disease: The last stage of gum disease is advanced periodontal disease. Once patients have reached this stage, damage is not reversible, and patients are at risk for loss of all teeth. Patients’ gums may hurt, and it is estimated that patients may have lost anywhere from 50-80% of bone in their jaw. A patient’s entire body may also be inflamed as the disease has reached the bloodstream at this stage. In order to prevent the disease from spreading further into the body and the loss of all teeth, treatment is highly recommended. Scaling and root planing are the most popular treatment options once a patient has reached this stage.
Dr. Umo screens for oral cancer at preventive care visits!
Dr. Umo performs an oral cancer screening as part of routine care at Harford County Dentistry. Have you been screened?
Screening for this growing disease is important. When caught early, patients can improve their survival rate. Knowing the common signs and symptoms of oral cancer is also important for early detection:
- Persistent hoarseness
- Pain or difficulty swallowing
- Lump in the throat or neck
- Persistent earache- often in both ears
- Numbness in or around the mouth
- Lesion or sore that does not go away
Routine care will support long-term oral health and will help maintain your physical health and well-being. We want to create a long-term relationship with patients as a partner in their health care.
Gum Disease Treatment
Depending on your symptoms, Harford County Dentistry offers several gum disease treatment options. If you have early signs of gum disease, you may benefit from a deep teeth cleaning known as scaling and root planing. During this treatment, the dental hygienist will remove plaque and tartar from the deep pockets of the gum.
For patients with missing teeth as a result of gum disease, there are a number of replacement options, including dental implants, dental bridges, and dentures. These are permanent restorations that function and look extremely similar to patients’ natural teeth.
Gum Disease FAQs
Do you have further questions about gum disease and how we treat it in our office? Continue reading to find answers to frequently asked questions.
Does periodontal therapy hurt?
Treatment for gum disease does not hurt. You can imagine them as a deep cleaning massage for your gums. Treatment only targets dead and infected tissue, so your gum pain disappears almost immediately after treatment. We may also use a local anesthetic to numb the area if you are concerned about discomfort during your treatment.
Is gum disease treatment covered by insurance?
Periodontal therapy can be covered by insurance because it is a necessary treatment for good oral health. Although, insurance companies are different and have the final decision if they will cover treatment or not. Contact your dental insurance provider for details and ask them to cover your costs.
Will my receding gums ever grow back?
No. Gums that recede due to periodontal disease do not grow back on their own. There is, however, treatment for receding gums called gum grafting, or gum rejuvenation. If you have any questions about these procedures, feel free to call our office. Although your gums will not grow back on their own, there are methods to replace them aesthetically.
Schedule Your Next Dentist Visit Today
If you have sore gums or bleeding gums, contact our Fallston dentist office. We also offer treatment for patients with gum disease in Bel Air, MD, and surrounding areas. We gladly welcome new patients.
Call 410-994-2627 for an appointment and more information, or request an appointment online.