Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gums and their supporting structures, which can lead to long-term damage if not treated properly. At this point, the infection moves below the gum line and can cause inflammation and irritation in the soft tissues and even the bone. This is why it’s so important to practice good oral hygiene habits at home and get regular checkups with our dentist in Palm Desert, CA.
What Are the Symptoms of Gum Disease?
The early stages of gum disease are often painless, so you may not notice anything is wrong until symptoms begin to appear. The most common warning sign is bleeding in the gums when you brush or floss your teeth. You may also notice that your gums are red and swollen or that they appear to pull away from the surface of your teeth. Other symptoms include persistent bad breath and loose teeth.
If you notice any of these warning signs, it is important to schedule an appointment with our dentist in Palm Desert, CA, as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. The longer you wait, the more serious your disease will get.
How Is Gum Disease Diagnosed?
Our dentist in Palm Desert, CA, will diagnose gum disease during an oral exam. The exam will include an oral cancer screening, periodontal probing to check the depth of pockets between your gums and teeth, X-rays to assess any bone loss or abscesses, and a visual inspection of your teeth to see if there are any changes like discoloration or plaque buildup on your teeth.
If your condition is more severe, we might order a special test called a biopsy to examine a sample of the affected tissue. This test can help identify the presence of infection and determine the best treatment plan based on the results.
Which Treatments Are Used to Treat Gum Disease?
The early stages of gum disease, known as gingivitis, can be treated through professional teeth cleaning, also known as scaling and root planing. This is a deep-cleaning treatment that can remove the plaque from below the gum line, as well as smooth out the roots. This can help prevent the bacteria that cause gum disease from building up again. Scaling and root planing are typically done every three to four months to keep plaque at bay.
If the disease has progressed to periodontitis and the gums have started to pull away from the tooth roots, one of the treatments we offer is pocket reduction surgery. This procedure involves making an incision in the gums so that the dentist can see the root of the tooth. Then, the gum tissue can be pulled back from the tooth, releasing built-up bacteria and tartar in the process. This can shrink the depth of the pockets so that the bacteria are no longer able to accumulate. Flap surgery is another similar procedure that can help restore the health of the gums. In this case, the gums will be folded back and removed and then stitched back into place once they heal.
Both of these procedures can eliminate much of the harmful bacteria under the gums and reduce the size of the pockets that form between the gums and the teeth. This can lead to a significant decrease in bleeding during brushing or flossing, as well as relief from any discomfort that is caused by overly deep pockets.
At LAGOS Periodontics & Dental Implants, Rodrigo A. Lagos, DDS, MS, practices a full scope of periodontics with expertise in preventive periodontics, cosmetic periodontal surgery, gum grafting, and dental implants. To schedule an appointment, call us at 760-568-3421 or visit our practice at 36945 Cook St.Suite 101, Palm Desert, CA 92260.
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