Most people think that dentists are only concerned about the health of our teeth. But that's not true at all. At The Smile Company, we're also concerned about the state of your gums. When your gums become infected, your teeth may be damaged as well.
Signs and Symptoms of Gum Infection
Among adults, gum disease is the most common cause of tooth loss. It is an infection of the gum tissues that surround and support your teeth. Not all symptoms of gum infection involve pain, which is why we always remind our patients to visit our dental clinic in Maryland Heights, Missouri at least every six months. We will inspect your mouth and check for signs of gum infection which you may not notice at all.
There are, however, some symptoms which you should look out for. For example, your teeth may become loose or the gums may have receded from your teeth. There may be some space between your teeth that wasn't there before, and this may be a sign of bone loss. Your gums may bleed when you brush your teeth, or they may appear swollen, red, or tender. It's also a bad sign if your breath smells bad no matter what you do.
In the first stage of gum infection, the gums will appear swollen and red and they bleed easily. This is called gingivitis. The damage is still reversible and it's possible to treat the problem simply by brushing and flossing more regularly. The second stage is called periodontitis, and at this stage the bone and gums that support the teeth are significantly damaged. The tooth may become loose, it may fall out, or we may have to extract it.
Scaling and Root Planing
A professional teeth-cleaning procedure is usually the first step in preventing gum infection. In some cases, when there are already signs of gum disease, we usually recommend that you get this service at least twice a year.
But when gum infection has set in, our usual response is to treat it with scaling and root planing. This is a nonsurgical procedure that deeply cleans your teeth. We usually do this using a local anesthetic, unlike with regular professional teeth cleaning. We recommend this procedure when we have determined that you have tartar and plaque that must be removed.
Scaling refers to how we use special tools to scrape away the tartar and plaque from above and below the gum line. Root planing requires the use of certain tools to smoothen the rough parts of your teeth. By doing so, the bacteria are removed and it's no longer easy for harmful bacteria to attach themselves to the clean and smooth surface of the teeth. In general, scaling and root planing are all that's needed to treat gum infection. However, it may be necessary to use surgical gum infection therapy in more severe cases.
At The Smile Company, we have the expertise and the equipment to provide an array of surgical treatments for gum infection. Surgery may be needed when the gum tissue has become severely infected and unhealthy, and the scaling and root planing procedure is no long enough.
One surgical procedure involves lifting up the gums to get rid of tartar. The gum tissue is then arranged so that they tightly hold on to the tooth. This reduces the chances of harmful bacteria from growing inside. Other surgical procedures include bone grafts, soft tissue grafts, and bone and tissue regeneration.
If you notice any problems with your gums, call us right away at (314) 254-4000. At The Smile Company, we will take care of your gums in the same way we take care of your teeth.