Gum Disease: Your Dentist Can Provide Treatment
Periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, occurs when the supporting tissue around the teeth causes infection. The effects of gum disease range from minor gum swelling to serious damage of bone and tissue in the mouth, resulting in tooth loss.
If your child has gum disease, take him or her to a dentist immediately for treatment.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease begins with plaque, which turns into tartar if it is not removed with proper brushing and flossing. Once plaque turns into tartar, it cannot be removed by brushing and requires the care of a dentist. A child with untreated gum disease is at risk of developing gingivitis or periodontitis.
Periodontitis is a severe gum disease in which the gums pull away from the teeth, creating spaces that become filled with infection. Out of defense, the body's immune system begins to attack itself, breaking down the bone and connective tissues that hold the teeth in place. If not treated immediately, the teeth's bones, tissue and gums are destroyed.
Risk Factors of Gum Disease
There are several factors that put children at risk of developing gum disease:
- Hormonal changes in girls
- Diabetes and other illnesses
- Certain medications
How Do I Know if My Child Has Gum Disease?
There are several signs and symptoms of gum disease, including:
- Bad breath that won't go away
- Red/swollen gums
- Tender/bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose/sensitive teeth
- Receding gums
How to Treat Gum Disease
There are several ways to treat gum disease, including:
- Scaling and root planing—This is a deep cleaning method in which a dentist scrapes away tartar and plaque from above and below the gum line. This process is known as scaling. A dentist will also perform root planing, a process that rids teeth of rough spots in order to remove the germs and bacteria that aid gum disease.
- Medication—Antibiotics are used to get rid of the bacteria that is contributing to the gum disease or stop the detachment of the tooth to the bone. This method of treatment is usually used alongside another treatment plan, such as scaling or surgery.
- Flap surgery—During this surgery, a dentist lifts back the gums and removes the tartar that has formed there. They then stitch the gums back around the teeth.
- Bone and tissue grafts—In grafting, bone and/or tissue from other parts of the body are transferred to the affected areas. This procedure promotes and reinforces new growth from the bone and gum tissue.
Preventing Gum Disease
There are several ways to prevent gum disease, including:
- Brushing teeth two times a day
- Flossing every day
- Eating a well-balanced diet
- Scheduling routine dental checkups and cleanings
Find a Dentist to Treat Gum Disease
It is possible to have gum disease and display none of the symptoms mentioned above. This is why dental visits are of extreme importance.
Kool Smiles—a network of dental practices that focuses on the treatment of children—strives to make going to the dentist a fun experience for your child. We are here to perform check-ups and cleanings and help you and your child learn about the power of proper tooth care.
Visit our website today and make an appointment to kick-start a future of healthy smiles.
American Dental Association: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/g/gum-disease
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research: http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/oralhealth/Topics/GumDiseases/PeriodontalGumDisease.htm
Mouth Healthy: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/g/gum-disease