Infected gums aren’t as uncommon as you’d like to think. Nearly half of all adults in the US over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease, and the risk only increases with age. If the condition is ignored entirely, you’ll most likely end up losing your teeth. It’s certainly possible to treat a gum infection, but can gum disease ever be completely cured? The answer depends on how quickly you seek gum disease therapy in Towson.
What are the Stages of Gum Disease?
Gum disease has two major stages: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the earliest and mildest form. It occurs when the bacteria in plaque accumulates, inflaming the gums and making them more prone to bleeding when brushing. At this point, no irreversible damage has occurred. Eventually, gingivitis can become periodontitis, which is when the inner layer of the gum and bone will start to recede, forming periodontal pockets between your teeth and gums that can easily become infected. As periodontitis goes on, the pockets deepen, and eventually the tissue anchoring the teeth in place is destroyed, leading to tooth loss.
Is Gum Disease Curable?
The answer is yes, gum disease is curable – but you’ll have to act quickly. Gingivitis can be reversed if you improve your oral hygiene habits and follow your periodontist’s instructions. Periodontitis is much more severe and requires extensive intervention. It can be alleviated if treated properly, but any jawbone damage or tooth loss that it has already caused will not heal by itself. Also, if you don’t take care of your mouth after periodontal treatment, there’s a very real risk that the disease could return.
How is Gum Disease Treated?
Generally speaking, patients with gingivitis will only need minimal treatment in the form of periodontal cleanings to avoid the long-term consequences of gum disease. Should your condition turn into periodontitis, you’ll need to undergo a deep cleaning, also known as scaling and root planing. The first step of the process involves removing plaque and tartar that has built up around the gum line, and during the second step, the roots of the teeth are smoothed out in order to encourage the gums to heal. (Smooth tooth roots also make it harder for bacteria to reattach.) Deep cleanings are often followed up with antibiotic therapy to remove any bacteria or toxins that might still be left in your mouth. In extreme cases, osseous surgery might be required to get rid of the pockets that have already formed in your gums.
Once gum disease has been allowed to develop, it can be difficult to treat. Fortunately, if you get in touch with your periodontist in Towson quickly, you stand a much better chance of saving your smile.
About the Author
Dr. Melody Ward earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery at the University of Maryland Baltimore, where she also completed a residency in periodontics. As a periodontist, she loves getting to know her patients and teaching them about gum health, and she is proud to offer high-quality gum disease therapy to Towson families. If you’ve noticed that you’re suffering from bleeding gums or other symptoms of gum disease, you can schedule an appointment by visiting her website or calling (410) 583-5214.