When bacteria accumulates on your teeth in the form of plaque and tartar, it can infiltrate your gums and cause gum disease. Swollen gums or gums that bleed easily indicate you have gingivitis or periodontitis. Because there are so many things that can go wrong with your teeth, you need to have someone on your side who can help. A periodontist studies the structures surrounding your teeth to help prevent these diseases. Christopher Banks, DMD, of Banks Dental Group helps people in the Auburn Gresham area of Chicago with his periodontic expertise to provide them with relief.
Gingivitis is mild gum disease, but it does not harm the supporting structures of the teeth.
Periodontitis is more severe than gingivitis. It occurs when gum disease has infiltrated the tissues and bones that support your teeth.
Gingivitis is usually present when your gums bleed during brushing and flossing; you may also notice your gums look puffy and swollen. If you have periodontal disease, your gums pull away from your teeth, you have persistent bad breath, you notice changes in your bite or loose teeth, and you may see pus coming from your gums.
Regular cleanings and good dental hygiene do a lot to prevent gum disease. You may be more vulnerable if gum disease runs in your family. Tobacco use and a diet low in vitamins and minerals but high in simple sugars encourages plaque to grow and infect your gums. Certain immune-weakening diseases, such as AIDS, diabetes, or leukemia put you at greater risk, too.
Early treatment of gum disease prevents it from progressing to a very serious condition. Clear up gingivitis by diligently brushing twice daily and flossing regularly. Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings, and refrain from using tobacco products – smoking or chewing – to keep your gums healthy, too.
In some cases, Dr. Banks may prescribe topical or oral antibiotics to reduce infection. He may also suggest root planing and scaling, which is an effective way to clean between the gums and the teeth to prevent your condition from developing into gum disease. Consult with Dr. Banks to find out which course of action is best for you.
Surgery sometimes is required if these treatments don’t work or if gum disease has progressed to severe levels. If your gums are receding, Dr. Banks may suggest a gum graft to repair the damage.
If the gums are covering too much of the teeth, a crown-lengthening procedure can restore them to normal. When the tooth is beyond salvaging, Dr. Banks will suggest a bone graft, which is a complete replacement of the tooth. For those whose tongue have a restricted range of motion, Dr. Banks may suggest a frenectomy to fix the problem.
Dr. Banks may recommend a gingivectomy, which eliminates pockets between the teeth and gums that allow plaque to build up. During this surgery, Dr. Banks uses a laser to remove and reshape diseased gum tissue, eliminating those pockets.
A gingivectomy prevents serious gum disease from affecting your teeth and the bones that support them. You can remain gingivitis-free after a gingivectomy with good dental hygiene and regular check-ups.