Gum Disease

Periodontal disease, periodontitis, or gum disease stems from infections and swelling of the gingiva and the bones anchoring the teeth. In the initial stages, the condition is known as gingivitis, characterized by red, inflamed, and bleeding gum tissue. With an early diagnosis, gingivitis is treatable and can be reversed without surgery. Nevertheless, when it progresses to periodontal disease, surgery is necessary to reverse the damage done.

Gum disease is common in America, with 47.2% of adults over 30 having it. If you fail to seek treatment early, gingivitis progresses into an advanced periodontal illness associated with severe health complications like diabetes and heart conditions. The issue with mild periodontal disease is that the signs can go unnoticed. We can evaluate the teeth and gum tissue at Dr. Joseph Goodman to find the symptoms and arrest the condition before it progresses into periodontitis in Beverly Hills.

Understanding Gingivitis

The early stages of gum disease, when the symptoms are mild, are known as gingivitis. The condition occurs when a layer of bacteria builds around the teeth and gums, causing plaque. You need to observe proper oral hygiene or visit the dentist regularly to clean the plaque sufficiently, allowing the toxic bacteria in the film to settle in your gingiva and cause inflammation. The swelling happens when plaque irritates the gum tissue and causes infection. Your body’s immune system then responds to the disease, which causes inflammation.

What makes gingivitis more dangerous is that periodontal bacteria can infiltrate the bloodstream and enter significant organs like the heart, causing severe health complications like heart disease and stroke. Other health complications you could develop because of untreated gingivitis are:

  • Elevated risk of low birth weight infants or preterm births in pregnant mothers
  • Cause medical conditions like diabetes and osteoporosis,
  • A type of gingivitis called acute necrotizing gingivitis, also known as the trench mouth, develops and spreads fast, destroying your gum tissue.

Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. The second stage is periodontitis; the third and most severe is advanced periodontitis. You will experience different symptoms in each of these stages.

Periodontal Disease Causes

Saliva plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of the gums and teeth. It also helps with food chewing. However, debris can leave bacteria in the saliva. If you do not brush your teeth sufficiently after eating, bacteria can enter the spaces between your gingiva and teeth, causing irritation and swelling. Sometimes, debris and bacteria can also enter the pockets between the gingiva and teeth, allowing dental plaque to build up.

Poor oral hygiene allows bacteria to thrive and breed as they feed on food debris. The continued debris buildup in the pockets forms a layer of bacteria known as dental plaque. After some time, the plaque hardens further to form dental tartar, or calculus, creating a breeding ground for the bacteria. From this information, you can deduce that one of the primary causes of gum disease is poor oral hygiene.

Factors that Elevate the Risk of Periodontal Disease

Tobacco is one of the factors that increase your risk of developing gum disease. It reduces blood flow in the mouth, denying the gingiva sufficient nutrients. Besides, tobacco weakens your immune system, making it challenging to fight infections. This allows gingivitis to advance into periodontitis and advanced periodontitis quickly.

Other causes include:

  • Medical illnesses like diabetes, which make it difficult for the body to heal, and HIV expose you to infections
  • Genetic makeup that predisposes you to periodontal disease
  • Stress that reduces the body’s capacity to fight illnesses
  • Organic adjustments in the mouth during pregnancy or menopause weaken the immune system and expose you to periodontal disease.
  • Xerostomia or dry mouth
  • Lack of proper nutrients or poor diet. Persons with vitamin C and B3 deficiencies are more susceptible to periodontitis.
  • Poorly fitted dental crowns or bridges
  • Poor dental hygiene, particularly when wearing braces
  • Crooked or misaligned teeth make it challenging to clean, allowing the formation of calculus that causes gum infections.

If you are at risk of developing gum disease, you should visit Dr. Joseph Goodman for frequent oral examinations. Our general dentists will identify gingivitis symptoms early and treat the illness before it advances.

Gingivitis Progression

Gingivitis typically happens before periodontal disease. Not all cases progress into periodontitis. In the beginning, the bacteria in dental plaque cause bleeding, particularly when brushing due to the swollen gingiva. Despite the irritation and swelling of the gums, the teeth remain steadfast in their positions, as no damage has happened to the surrounding gums and bones.

When the condition goes untreated, the inner layer of the gum tissue and the bone begin to loosen. The gums start to pull back, creating pockets between them and the teeth. These pockets allow for the accumulation of plaque and calculus. The toxic bacteria in this film eat away at the bone and connective tissue, loosening the teeth and eventually causing tooth loss.

Therefore, early detection of gingivitis is critical to reverse the condition and reduce the chances of disease progression. To arrest the disease early, you must understand and be able to identify the symptoms.

Gingivitis Symptoms

Healthy gums look pink and are firmly attached to the teeth on the lower side. Additionally, when you brush, you should not experience bleeding. However, when you develop gingivitis, your gums turn red, bleed when you brush, and become swollen. Foul breath is also common among people with gingivitis.

Halitosis or Bad Breath

One common sign of mild gum disease, or gingivitis, is foul breath or halitosis. Bad dental hygiene can cause foul breath, but at other times, it could signal a significant oral condition like gingivitis, mainly if a lousy taste follows the foul breath in the mouth.

You experience halitosis because of the accumulation of dental plaque in your mouth. Plaque and calculus are films of toxic bacteria that are difficult to remove with routine cleaning. Therefore, the bacteria irritate the gums with time, causing infection and producing a foul odor.

Bad breath can have severe implications in many aspects of life. First, it can make you self-conscious at social gatherings and lower your self-confidence.

When you notice foul breath that does not go away even with proper brushing, do not hesitate to contact us at Dr. Joseph Goodman. Because mouth odor is not always an indicator of gingivitis, we will examine your teeth to determine if gum tissue infection is the cause. If the halitosis is caused by mild gum disease, we will run a deep cleaning to remove the plaque causing the odor. However, if you have periodontitis, you must undergo treatment for the bad breath to go away.

Gum Redness or Inflammation

If your gum tissues are turning red or purplish, it could indicate that the health of your gingiva is in trouble.

Swollen gums are not unusual. The inflammation could be due to hormonal changes, gum disease, or vitamin deficiencies. When your gum tissues are swollen, they turn red or purple because of the elevated blood flow in the affected area. The inflammation can disappear in a few days if you do not have a significant dental issue. However, if the inflammation persists for at least two days, it could indicate you have mild periodontitis.

For gingivitis, you can address these symptoms by rinsing your mouth with turmeric or salty water. Nevertheless, it is time to visit us when the symptoms persist because the gingivitis could be advanced.

Bleeding Gingiva

It is not uncommon for people with gingivitis to experience bleeding gums, particularly when brushing. Bleeding gingiva could be due to aggressive brushing, blood clotting conditions, or tooth injuries. However, it is best to speak to your dentist because the bleeding could be a sign of gingivitis. The bleeding becomes worse when your gingivitis progresses to periodontal disease or advanced periodontitis. At these advanced stages, your gums will bleed even when eating.

You can temporarily stop the bleeding using a bag of ice cubes or by rinsing the mouth with mouthwash or salty water. Nevertheless, when the bleeding persists, you should consult a dentist for a thorough evaluation to establish if you have periodontitis and decide on the most appropriate treatment.

You should know that in the initial stages or when you develop mild periodontal disease, you will not experience any pain, and this is the reason people discover gum disease after progression, unlike other oral conditions that you notice when they develop because of the pain. Also, the lack of visible symptoms makes the condition difficult to diagnose. Frequent visits to your general dentist for oral examinations are the best way to detect gingivitis. If you do not do this, you risk discovering gum disease at an advanced stage when the condition cannot be reversed without advanced treatment like surgery.

Periodontitis Symptoms

When gingivitis progresses to periodontitis, your gums begin to pull back, exposing the tooth root and inner tooth elements. At this stage, your teeth are highly susceptible to delta cavities and sensitivity.

Therefore, when you experience pain along the gumline or sensitivity when brushing, it is time to speak to a periodontist because you could suffer from gum disease. The periodontist or general dentist will not reverse the receded gums, but they will offer treatment to prevent further receding.

A dental evaluation is essential because periodontitis is not the only cause of gum recession. Hormonal changes, improper dental hygiene, or crooked teeth could cause the symptoms. Never ignore your symptoms. Instead, visit a dentist for an evaluation to identify the source of the symptoms.

Another symptom of periodontitis is loose teeth. Teeth loosen when the infection spreads to the bones and connective tissue that supports them. When these are damaged, teeth are left loose, and tooth loss occurs with time. So, when you notice your teeth loosening, speak to a periodontist immediately.

Advanced Periodontitis Symptoms

When gum disease reaches the advanced stage, you experience severe toothache when eating. You experience the pain because the infection has damaged the bones and gingiva supporting the tooth. When the damage extends to the nerves, you experience severe pain that runs through the bone and causes headaches. You can address the problem by visiting a dentist for remedies like tooth extraction, surgery, or a bone graft.

Another symptom of progressed periodontitis is gum abscess. You develop the symptoms when pockets between your gingiva and teeth become deep, and bacteria accumulate in them, causing an abscess. The pockets are filled with pus and are usually extremely painful. When you visit us for an examination, we will conduct an x-ray to determine the extent of the infection before recommending the appropriate treatment.

Preventing Periodontitis

If mild gum disease or gingivitis is left untreated, it progresses into periodontal disease, which causes havoc to the body and leaves unreversible bone damage. Therefore, the best way to address gum disease, especially gingivitis, is through proper oral hygiene.

When you have developed mild periodontitis or are yet to develop the condition, our dentists at Dr. Joseph Goodman will recommend adequately brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day. Also, we recommend flossing with an antimicrobial once a day. The dental hygienist assigned to your case will also encourage you to maintain a balanced diet and visit the dentist at least twice annually for an oral examination. Also, we will enable you to use a toothbrush with soft bristles to avoid hurting your gums.

Feel free to ask your dentist how to brush and floss your teeth for the best results. You should also discuss the best brushes to use, including your electric brush options.

Biannual visits to the dentist are encouraged for deep cleaning, which removes plaque and tartar and prevents the accumulation that leads to periodontitis.

Also, if you are experiencing dry mouth because of periodontitis, you should drink a lot of water. Sipping water allows constant saliva production, which helps keep bacteria away. If you are taking any medications that could be causing dry mouth, like heart medication, you should speak to your dentist about the side effects. Your dentist will then talk to your primary physician to prescribe alternative medications that could help lower the risk of developing gum disease.

If you smoke, you should consider quitting to lower the risk of periodontal disease 

Gingivitis Treatment

Treating gingivitis is not as painful as you might think. At an early stage, you can easily manage gingivitis with the help of a periodontist or dental hygienist. In the treatment, your dental expert scales and polishes the teeth to remove tartar and plaque. Deep cleaning also involves removing calculus layers underneath the gumline.

You must know that treatment for gingivitis is non-surgical, but in the case of deep cleaning, you will require local anesthesia because the scaling can be unpleasant. By removing dental plaque calculus around the teeth and gum tissue surrounding the teeth, your dentist reduces or eliminates the possibility of developing periodontitis. Again, the condition can be reversed because once you remove the plaque accumulation and bacteria, the gingiva reattaches to the teeth again, preventing receding gums and giving you a beautiful smile.

Alternatively, your dentist can practice dental cleaning, usually during routine visits. To eradicate calculus and plaque that are difficult to remove with regular brushing. Calculus causes bacteria to breed in the mouth, leading to oral infection. Therefore, when you visit a professional twice annually, they will remove these bacteria layers, giving you clean and healthy teeth. If your dentist discovers signs of periodontal disease during the dental cleaning, they recommend prophylaxis twice a year.

You should know that after scaling or dental cleaning, you must observe proper dental hygiene to keep mild gum disease at bay. Again, you can explore conventional gingivitis treatments, like:

  • Vitamin C supplements. VitamiN C contains natural antibiotics that help enhance gum health. Taking 1,000mg daily can help prevent gingivitis.
  • Cranberries can also be used to treat mild gum disease. They contain elements that deter bacteria from building a film or layer on your teeth and gums, thus helping prevent gingivitis.
  • Grapefruit seed extract again contains antibiotic properties that can help fight oral infections, preventing or treating gingivitis. To use the extract, add several drops to your toothpaste before brushing. This will treat or lower the risk of mild periodontal disease. However, before using the extract, consult with your general dentist.

You should know that gingivitis is a condition you can treat at home by improving your overall oral hygiene. However, before you begin the journey, speaking to a dentist or hygienist is critical to determining the extent of the dental infection.

If calculus has already accumulated underneath your gum line, no amount of brushing or flossing will treat the problem. You will need the guidance of a professional.

Advanced Periodontitis Treatment

You can treat gingivitis at home or through non-surgical processes because the condition is easily reversible. However, with advanced gum disease, you will require complex surgical procedures because the effects of periodontitis are irreversible. The common treatments for advanced periodontal disease are:

  1. Bone Grafts

Advanced periodontitis is associated with severe infections of the gingiva and bone. As the condition progresses, it destroys the bones and connective tissue. Therefore, even if you require an implant to restore a lost tooth, you must undergo a bone graft procedure to strengthen the jawbone and restore its mass to enable it to offer sufficient anchorage to the implant. When the connective tissue has been damaged by advanced gum disease, you can opt for tissue re-engineering to help the body recreate and create fresh connective tissue quickly.

  1. Pocket Reduction or Flap Surgery

When you suffer from advanced periodontal disease, you are likely to have deep spaces between the soft tissues and teeth. These are the ones that allow for bacteria accumulation, leading to infection. Therefore, after the calculus in the pockets has been removed, your periodontist must conduct a flap surgery to reduce the pockets to their normal size and prevent future accumulation of plaque, which could lead to the recurrence of periodontal disease. The surgery entails lifting the gingiva to remove the calculus, smoothing the tooth root, and placing back the gum tissue.

  1. Bone Surgery

Advanced periodontitis is associated with bone damage that forms craters. These craters allow bacteria to accumulate and breed, leading to the progression of gum disease. When you visit a peridontist with a deteroriated bone, they will perform bone surgery to remove the craters and smooth the bone surface, leaving no room for bacteria growth.

  1. Guided Tissue Regeneration

After advanced periodontitis has destroyed your bone and tissue, your dental surgeon can encourage regrowth through guided tissue regeneration. The sureon installs a fabric that resembles a mesh between the gum tissue and the bone to prevent the growth of the membrane in areas where the bone should grow. Doing so allows the bone, gum tissue, and bone to grow freely. 

Surgical options are only an option when the damage to the gingiva and bone around the teeth is irreversible with treatment. Otherwise, if you suffer from gingivitis, you will only need scaling and dental cleaning to treat the disease and prevent it from progressing.

Gum Disease Treatment Cost

On average, periodontitis treatment costs at least $500. Deep cleaning is required for mild periodontal disease or gingivitis and costs at least $30. Scaling costs range from $140 to $210.

The cost of treatment varies depending on the location of your dentist and the technology they use. It also depends on whether your insurer provides coverage for gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Many insurers offer coverage for gum disease, but you must check with your insurer to know if your policy offers coverage for the treatment.

You ought to know that Medicare does not offer coverage for gum disease. However, the lack of an insurance plan should not be the reason you allow the gingivitis to progress. Speak to your dental services provider for a payment option that makes the treatment affordable.

Find a Reputable General Dentistry Service Near Me

When you notice gum disease symptoms at whatever stage, do not hesitate to speak to Dr. Joseph Goodman at 310-860-9311. We offer surgical and non-surgical treatment options for various stages of gum disease, from gingivitis to advanced periodontal disease. Visit us in Beverly Hills for a no-obligation evaluation and safe treatment to address your gum disease.