Gum disease is painful and can leave you with red, swollen, unsightly gums. But it’s the damage you can’t see that’s the most detrimental. The threat to your gums begins with the buildup of plaque, a sticky coating that forms on your teeth but can be controlled with good oral hygiene practices. If the plaque isn’t thoroughly removed, bacteria begins to grow on your teeth. In addition to raising your risk for tooth decay, this bacteria irritates gum tissue, causing gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease.

Once the bacteria builds up, gums become inflamed, and gum disease, also known as periodontitis, is the result. Gum disease is a painful condition that requires professional intervention. Ignoring it opens up a whole world of problems that can affect your teeth, jaw, gums — and even your overall health.

Common signs of gum disease

Many individuals experience bleeding gums now and then, as well as tender spots on the tissue of the mouth. But chronic soreness, bleeding, or inflammation could be the start of gum disease. Here are some of the other symptoms of periodontitis that you should never ignore:

  • Visible recession
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Bleeding or pus between teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Changes in your bite
  • A change in how dentures fit
  • Recurring or slow-to-heal sores along the gum line

How we treat gum disease

For those who have been diagnosed with diseased gums, the treatment depends on how advanced it is. At Sunrise Dental, your dentist designs a treatment plan to heal your gums, which often involves a professional cleaning, and may include scaling and planing.

Scaling

Scaling removes tartar and bacteria from tooth surfaces and below the gum line. It’s crucial to stop the bacteria from getting below the gums into the bone tissue and blood stream, raising your risk for serious damage to your jawbone, heart, and overall health.

Root planing

In order to halt the progression of gum disease, it’s necessary to clean and smooth the surfaces of the roots where bacteria and its byproducts cling. Bacteria and bacterial byproducts cause inflammation and prevent healing of your periodontitis.

Other treatments may include:

  • Removal of infected gum tissue
  • Dental implants to replace compromised teeth
  • Topical antibiotics applied to the gums and pockets formed by gum recession
  • Oral antibiotics

In some cases, surgical treatment may be necessary to eliminate the progression of gum disease and heal your gums. We’ll determine the best course of treatment following a thorough evaluation of your oral health.

How gum disease impacts your overall wellness

Untreated gum disease poses a risk that goes well beyond your teeth and gums. If you ignore the bacteria that causes periodontitis, they can travel below the gum line and enter your bloodstream. Oral bacteria that causes gum disease have been found in arterial plaques in people with coronary artery disease.

In addition to the threat gum disease poses to your heart, the inflammation associated with this type of bacteria can spread throughout your body, possibly contributing to compromised brain function, uncontrolled blood sugar, chronic lung infections, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, erectile dysfunction, and even an increase in your risk for developing cancer.

And for women who are pregnant, gum disease can increase the risk for premature birth and low birthweight babies.

Don’t ignore gum disease another day

If you suspect you have gum disease, or if you’ve been putting off your dental check-ups for too long, please reach out to our warm and caring professionals at Sunrise Dental. We have two offices to serve you in Spokane and Spokane Valley, Washington. Contact us today by phone or by clicking the “request appointment” button.