Also called periodontitis, gum disease is an infection of the gums that causes inflammation, damaging the soft tissue around and beneath the teeth. If periodontal disease is not identified and treated on time, it results in tooth loss as the toxins from the bacteria damage the tissue and bone connectivity.

If you suffer from periodontitis or want to prevent the advancement of the symptoms in Aliso Viejo, you should consult with a general dentistry service. At South Coast Dentistry, we have skilled periodontists with the skills and experience necessary to detect the symptoms of the disease early to prevent severe complications.

Gum Disease at a Glance

Gum disease begins with bacteria growing in the mouth. The bacteria stem from poor brushing and flossing, which causes plaque and calculus accumulation. The plaque is a sticky layer of toxic bacteria, and if it is not removed on time, the bacteria spread in the gums, causing infection and soft tissue inflammation. With time, the soft tissue that connects the teeth to the jawbone is destroyed, leaving the teeth weak and exposed and causing tooth loss.

In the initial stages, gum disease is known as gingivitis. It is the period when the toxic bacteria from the plaque cause soft tissue inflammation. If gingivitis is detected early, you can stop it from progressing into periodontal disease. When you develop gingivitis, you will notice bleeding in the gums, particularly during brushing. However, even though you experience bleeding, the teeth remain firm because the soft tissue is firm.

Nevertheless, when gingivitis goes unnoticed or untreated for a long time, the condition progresses into periodontal disease. When the disease advances to periodontitis, the toxins released by the bacteria in the mouth damage the gum tissue that retains the teeth in the sockets. The bacteria also destroy the bone and cause the gums to pull back, creating pockets or spaces between the soft tissue and teeth. These spaces in the mouth allow for the accumulation of debris and food particles that develop into infections. Your body’s immune system will try to fight the infection, but as it does so, the tartar continues to grow and spread beneath the gum line.

If you allow periodontitis to spread without seeking treatment, you start to experience bone and soft tissue loss. The toxins from the bacteria wear out the connective soft tissue and bones, loosening your teeth and increasing the risk of tooth loss.

Gum Disease Causes

Your mouth contains both healthy and destructive bacteria. When the mucus in the mouth mixes with debris, it causes a sticky film called plaque. Plaque is what produces bacteria that lead to gum disease. Therefore, if you can prevent the plaque from accumulating, you can prevent periodontal disease. Although plaque and calculus accumulation are the main causes of periodontitis, other causes of the condition are:

  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Medical illnesses like diabetes and kidney disease
  • Poor functional habits
  • Organic changes in the mouth due to metabolism and hormonal changes

Gum Disease Symptoms

Early uncovering is the key to treating and preventing further complications when it comes to periodontal disease. Periodontitis is treatable by procedures like root planing and scaling if identified early. However, the problem is that many patients never know they have the condition until the symptoms are severe and the disease is advanced. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the symptoms of periodontitis and seek treatment immediately after you notice them. The prevalent symptoms of periodontal disease are:

Bad Breath

Also called halitosis, bad or foul breath is a prevalent oral illness. It stems from inadequate oral hygiene, but it could also indicate an underlying dental illness. Therefore, when you notice a foul breath and taste, your body could be telling you that you have periodontal disease, which is why you should not ignore it.

Foul breath in cases of periodontal disease stems from tartar and plaque accumulation. The bacteria in the plaque cause gum tissue infection, causing you to emit a foul smell from the mouth.

Foul or unpleasant breath causes many challenges, particularly when interacting with people because you are self-conscious. Being afraid to talk in public or interact due to bad breath can lower self-esteem. Therefore, you should visit your dental expert if you notice unpleasant breaths that are hard to eliminate, even with brushing and flossing.

At South Coast Dentistry, we understand that foul breath indicates periodontitis. Therefore, we will evaluate your gums to establish if the unpleasant breath is due to a gum infection. If we notice gum infection, we will conduct dental cleaning to eradicate the tartar and plaque emitting the unpleasant smell.

Bleeding Gums

If you notice that your gums are bleeding, it could be a sign that you suffer from gingivitis. Aggressive brushing and trauma in the mouth can cause bleeding, but if you notice the symptoms, you should speak to your dentist immediately for an examination. Periodontitis can cause your gum tissue to bleed when the infection becomes severe. You experience the bleeding mostly when eating or brushing, and the symptoms become severe if you leave the condition untreated.

You can use mouthwash and ice cubes to halt the bleeding temporarily, but if you want a permanent solution, you must visit a general dentistry service.

Gum Inflammation

If you have gum disease or an infection, your gums react by swelling. Your gums are swollen if you notice redness caused by increased blood flow. The inflammation can sometimes appear and disappear without any treatment. However, when you discover that the swelling is persistent, it could be a sign of periodontal disease, and you should seek medical treatment.

Tooth Sensitivity

The discomfort or pain you feel when taking hot or cold substances is called tooth sensitivity. Acidic and sweet beverages can also cause sensitivity. The symptom develops when thrilling temperatures, hot or cold, touch your dentin, causing tingling or, in extreme cases, severe pain.

Tooth sensitivity can indicate various oral concerns, but in most cases, it is a symptom of periodontal disease. The condition causes your tissue to pull back, exposing the tooth's inner structure to outside factors.

Sensitivity can impact your choice of foods and interfere with your diet. Therefore, if it persists, visit your dentist for an examination or raise the issue during your biannual checkups.

Receding Gums

Another way to tell that you have gum disease is if you notice your gum tissue pulling away from the tooth root, creating pockets that expose the tooth's inner elements. The pockets and exposed parts leave you exposed to sensitivity and cavities.

When you begin to feel pain or discomfort along the gum line when brushing, you could have gum recession, a common sign of periodontitis. It is impossible to reverse the receding gums, but your dentist can arrest the condition, preventing periodontal or gum disease advancement.

Other reasons for receding gums besides periodontitis include poor oral habits, crooked teeth, and hormonal changes. Please do not ignore these symptoms whenever you notice them. Talk to our general dentists for a thorough evaluation to establish the cause of the recession.

Severe Toothache

Gum disease begins with gingivitis and advances to periodontitis when you fail to seek timely treatment. If the condition spreads, damaging the bones holding the teeth in place, you will suffer extreme pain because of the nerves damaged by bacteria. Toothache stemming from gum disease is usually experienced in the jawbone and sometimes causes headaches.

The best way to handle the toothache is to visit your dentist for a detailed oral examination and treatment. Your dentist can remedy the symptoms through surgery, root planing, or antibiotics.

You should know that it is possible to have gum disease without symptoms. Detecting gum disease and seeking treatment under these circumstances becomes challenging. While some symptoms are mild, developing the disease without noticing it is hard. Therefore, it is best to understand the symptoms so that you can seek treatment on time.

Seeking Medical Attention

 If you detect gum disease symptoms, you should immediately seek treatment with your general dentistry services. The earlier you seek treatment, the more likely you are to recover. What is good about gum disease is that in the gingivitis phase, the condition is reversible. When you visit us at South Coast Dentistry with gingivitis, our dentists will perform a deep cleaning to eliminate the plaque and calculus in the teeth and prevent the disease from advancing to periodontitis. After the expert cleaning, maintaining oral health will prevent gum disease.

However, when you allow the gingivitis to advance to periodontal disease, your teeth loosen. Periodontitis is common in adults and normally results in tooth loss. With the detrimental effects of aggressive periodontitis, like bone and gum tissue loss, it is critical to seek treatment immediately after you notice periodontitis symptoms. Nevertheless, because symptoms do not always manifest when you have the condition, it is crucial to maintain regular visits to your dentist for checkups. Even with no symptoms, your dentist can identify the condition early and prevent it from advancing to the point where you lose teeth.

Gum Disease Diagnosis

When you visit us at South Coast Dentistry to seek treatment, we will conduct a diagnosis to establish the cause of your symptoms. At our dental offices, you should expect the following:

  • A thorough examination of the gums to look for signs of swelling
  • If you have pockets, the general dentist handling your case will measure their depth using probes. Pockets in a healthy mouth should measure one to three millimeters. Do not be afraid of the measurement process because it is painless.
  • Sometimes, periodontal disease diagnosis involves reviewing your medical record to establish if you are at an elevated risk of the condition. For example, if you have diabetes or smoke tobacco, you are at an elevated risk of periodontitis.
  • Your general dentist can even recommend an x-ray to examine your jawbone and determine the extent of the damage done.
  • If you suffer from aggressive periodontitis, your general dentist will refer you to a periodontist. These are medical professionals with expertise in diagnosing and treating gum disease.
  • The general dentist will also evaluate your teeth for movement, malocclusion, or sensitivity

Gum Disease Treatment

Periodontal disease treatment aims to arrest the spread of the infection. Several treatment options are available for parties suffering from gum disease, each varying depending on the disease's severity.

At South Coast Dentistry, we will evaluate your tooth condition to establish the treatment modality or plan that best suits your oral needs. We will assign you a dental hygienist to determine plaque removal. Also, you will need professional deep cleaning to eliminate the tartar through advanced procedures like scaling and root planing. Your dentist can also administer antibiotics to treat the gum infection in the pockets.

Even after treatment, you must observe healthy oral hygiene and incorporate home regimens like medicated mouthwash after brushing your teeth. Also, it would be best if you quit behaviors that increase the risk of periodontal disease, like smoking, to lower the risk of the disease recurring.

The non-surgical gum disease treatments are:

     1. Professional Dental Cleaning

When gum disease is identified during a routine checkup, your dentist can clean the teeth to eliminate plaque and calculus above and beneath the gum line. If the signs are visible, your general dentist will recommend dental cleaning at least twice annually. However, dental cleaning is only preventative, making it suitable for gingivitis. If the gum disease is advanced, professional cleaning can only prevent the disease from advancing but cannot reverse it.

     2. Root Planing and Scaling

Another non-surgical treatment for gum disease is scaling and planing. The treatment involves deep cleaning to extract plaque and calculus above and under the gum line. This treatment requires a local anesthetic to make the process painless. During the procedure, your dentist scales the calculus between the soft tissue and the teeth. The dentist then performs root planing, which involves smoothing the rough surfaces of your tooth where plaque and calculus have been extracted.

Root planing smooths the surfaces to ensure the bacteria will have nowhere to hide and breed. Also, it allows the teeth and tissue to reattach. Your dentist will recommend the treatment if there is tartar buildup that cannot be extracted through professional cleaning.

Surgical Treatment

Gum disease sometimes requires surgical procedures to reverse the damage when the condition is in advanced stages. The surgical treatments you can undergo for gum disease are:

Pocket Elimination or Reduction Surgery

Also known as flap surgery, pocket elimination surgery is conducted to minimize the pocket gaps between the teeth and soft tissue. Alternatively, the treatment is performed when your jawbone has holes housing bacteria.

The treatment involves lifting the soft tissue covering the tooth root to enable the removal of calculus below the gum line. If there are craters or irregular surfaces on the bone after removing tartar, your oral surgeon must smooth the surface to ensure there is no space to house bacteria. After the tartar is extracted, the surgeon returns the gum tissue to cover the teeth adequately. Once the pockets have been reduced to their regular size or eliminated, toxic bacteria will not have a space to breed and spread, preventing the recurrence of the disease. Also, the surgery prevents detrimental complications that could stem from aggressive periodontitis.

Jawbone Grafting or Tissue Regeneration

If the periodontal disease has caused severe jawbone loss, your dentist will recommend bone grafting. The oral surgeon uses an artificial bone or extracts a fragment from your body to replace the lost one. Grafting stimulates the bone to grow, enabling it to restore its strength and structure.

At South Coast Dentist, we employ the latest tissue regeneration technology to regenerate the lost jawbone. The technology entails grafting the jawbone to enhance the possibility of re-growth. Our dental experts also use tissue grafting to regenerate gum tissue.

In cases where the periodontal disease is advanced, the bone could have been damaged. Therefore, we recommend guided soft tissue regeneration to stimulate the soft tissue and jawbone to regrow. The procedure involves inserting a membrane between the gums and jawbone. The membrane is inserted to ensure the gums grow where they should, not where the bone is situated. The treatment enables the soft tissue and bone to regress, providing the tooth with the necessary anchorage.

Bone Surgery

If shallow holes or depressions have happened in your jawbone due to gum disease, you will require bone surgery to eradicate the cavities. Normally, the procedure is performed during flap surgery when your dentist notices craters on the jawbone after tartar removal. Once the depressions are removed, plaque cannot collect in these areas, allowing for the growth of toxic bacteria.

Treatment Cost

Periodontal disease treatment costs approximately $500 to $1,000, based on the extent of the disease.

Periodontal therapy using antimicrobials delivered in the soft tissue pockets costs approximately $75 per tooth, while active gum disease therapy maintenance costs $115.

The price you will pay for the services varies based on several factors:

  • The kind of technology used for the procedure
  • Your dentist’s location
  • Your dental insurance, if any
  • Your treatment plan

Do not let the cost of periodontal disease treatment discourage you from seeking help. Talk to your dentist about the costs and find ways to receive quality treatment at an affordable price.

Find a Reputable Aliso Viejo Dentist Near Me

When you notice signs of gum disease like unpleasant breath, bleeding in the gums, toothache, gum abscess, and inflamed gums, you should talk to an experienced general dentist immediately. At South Coast Dentistry, we have the skills and technology to reverse the condition and prevent its recurrence. Call us today at 949-274-9086 to speak to our dental experts in Aliso Viejo.