You may not spend much time thinking about the importance of having a healthy mouth. You may even assume that bad breath or bleeding gums are nothing to worry about. But bleeding gums and bad breath can indicate that you have periodontal (gum) disease.
What is it? Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums, the cementum that covers the tooth root, the supporting tissues, and sometimes the bone. In it’s early stages, it’s called gingivitis, and the infection affects the gums only.
What are the causes? When you don’t brush and floss regularly, the bacteria in dental plaque stays in your mouth, becoming the primary cause of periodontal disease. As your body attempts to rid itself of the bacteria surrounding your gums, a substance is released that inflames your gums, supporting tissue and bone. This is why your gums bleed and swell. Periodontal disease may also be caused by hormone changes, illness, medications and smoking.
How do you know you have it? A comprehensive dental exam is the best way to determine if you have periodontal disease. However, it develops slowly and there are signs you can look for such as:
- Bleeding gums
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Receding gums
- Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
How is it detected? Dr. Holbrook will look for swelling and bleeding gum tissue, and will examine the depth of the “pockets” between your teeth and gums. Deeper pockets signal a more severe case of the disease.
How is it treated? Dr. Holbrook will work with you to develop a treatment plan depending on the severity of your gum disease. The goal is to promote gum re-attachment to the teeth, reduce the depth of the pockets, reduce swelling, and stop the progression of the disease. Options for treatment range from non-surgical therapies to control bacteria to surgery to restore supportive tissues.
Early detection of periodontal disease is crucial. Dr. Holbrook stresses the importance of regular dental visits and invites you to call our office to schedule a comprehensive dental examination, today – for a great smile to last a lifetime: (505) 881-1159.