Because gums aren’t as prominent as teeth, patients can forget to give them the care they deserve. Although your gums may be less noticeable, without their healthy support, you wouldn’t have any teeth at all! Periodontal tissues are vital to both your smile and your overall oral health. Make sure to check in with your gums to catch any signs of gum inflammation or gum infection as soon as possible. Have your gums been feeling a bit different lately? Read on to get acquainted with the signs of gingivitis. Early detection will preserve your teeth, gums, and comfort.
Signs of Gingivitis
Don’t let these signs cause unnecessary stress. A little puffiness here or there doesn’t necessarily mean gingivitis. But any kind of gum irritation deserves attention. Pay attention to your soft tissues to react when they’re telling you something. A combination of the following symptoms could be indicating the onset of infection:
- Bleeding gums
- Red or purple gums
- Swollen gums
- Tender or painful gums
- A separation between gums and teeth
- Sudden bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
- Loose permanent teeth
- A change in your bite
- A change in the fit of removable dental restorations like partials or dentures
Getting Periodontal Treatment
If you do see signs of gingivitis, remain calm. Help is on the way! Simply pick up your phone and schedule an appointment with Dr. Kim Okamura. Her periodontal treatment is laser-assisted for enhanced patient comfort and superior results. Laser periodontal treatment utilizes less-invasive tactics to remove infected tissue and bacteria, and return teeth and gums to health. The inclusion of a laser in treatment also supports briefer healing periods and a reduced chance of disease returning.
Catching periodontal problems in the gingivitis phase means you may not require full periodontal treatment. Thorough teeth cleanings and excellent home care could reduce inflammation and set your gums back on a healthy path. Get in touch for personal instructions as to home methods of gum care.
Periodontal Disease in Higher Risk Patients
Patients with a higher risk of developing periodontal disease may need to schedule more frequent check-ups. If you’ve experienced periodontal disease in the past, you also have a higher chance of it returning. Patients in the following categories should keep an extra close watch on their gums:
- Those genetically predisposed to periodontal disease
- Smokers or tobacco users
- Pregnant women (the fluctuation in hormones makes gums susceptible to inflammation)
- Patients with crooked teeth that are difficult to clean
- Those taking certain medications (steroids, cancer therapy drugs, oral contraceptives – primarily, medications that affect hormonal levels. Ask your doctor whether your medication could influence your chance of developing gum disease)
How to Prevent Periodontal Disease
Of course, the #1 cause of periodontal problems is simple: poor oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing your teeth carefully several times each day removes bacteria from your teeth. When that bacteria isn’t removed, it hardens into plaque, which is much more difficult to scrub from teeth. As the plaque accumulates, it irritates the gums and causes inflammation. If it’s allowed to remain at the gum line, it will eventually create infected pockets between teeth and gums, and allow the onset of periodontal disease. Taking good care of your teeth will prevent all this from taking place. You’ll avoid frustration, discomfort, and a great expense of time.
What to Do if You Have Periodontal Disease
Not sure how often you should be visiting your dentist? Dr. Okamura will let you know the appropriate interval for your preventive exams. Simply contact us to learn more. Staying in touch with your teeth and gums is the most effective form of disease prevention!