When you experience minor bleeding of the gums while brushing or flossing, it usually isn’t due to excess force in your cleaning technique, but rather an indication you’re developing gum disease. You’ll need a visit to Sylvan S. Stern, DDS, of Southfield, Michigan to interrupt the progression from gingivitis to periodontitis, which can lead to tooth loss. Call or click today to protect yourself from periodontal disease.
Covering a progression of diseases that affect your teeth and gums, periodontal diseases, also called gum diseases, often develop from inadequate dental hygiene, though there are other causes or complicating factors.
Gingivitis is the gentlest form of gum disease. Your gums become swollen and red, and minor bleeding is common. Progressing slowly, there’s usually no discomfort or pain in the early stages, and the condition is easily reversible with treatment from Dr. Stern and follow-up care at home.
Periodontitis results from untreated gingivitis. Problems extend below the gum line and pockets form, creating an environment that supports bacteria that start to break down tissue and bone surrounding the roots of your teeth. Symptoms may remain mild, even as the disease progresses.
The first culprit is plaque, the sticky by-product of the foods and drinks you consume. Superficial brushing may take care of plaque on most visible surfaces of your teeth, but it’s the plaque at the gum line that develops into more serious conditions. Regular dental cleaning during checkups at Dr. Stern’s office typically takes care of plaque build-up at the gum line, so regular dental visits should keep gingivitis in check.
As plaque accumulates, it develops into a hard substance called dental calculus. When your gums are healthy, they provide a natural barrier that keeps plaque from going below the gum line and hardening into calculus. However, when plaque isn’t fully removed through brushing and flossing, it irritates the tissue at the gum line and breaches the natural barrier. It’s then that pockets below the gum line form and begins collecting bacteria. Deep cleaning, in the form of scaling and root planning, becomes necessary.
Scaling attacks plaque and tartar below the gum line, into places your toothbrush can’t access. This can be done with manual tools or ultrasonic equipment, each method breaking up tartar and removing plaque at deep levels.
Root planing may be necessary in severe cases to smooth the sides of the roots of your teeth. This permits gum tissue to adhere to the roots, rebuilding the natural barriers against plaque and calculus.