Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a condition that causes the gums to become inflamed and irritated. This inflammation is a response to plaque and bacteria, which your body tries to fight off by expanding the blood vessels and increasing blood flow to the gums. While inflammation is a natural healing process, it can damage the surrounding tissue. 

Rest assured, treating periodontal disease is a priority for your overall health and well-being. At Riverside Dental, we are committed to providing personalized care tailored to your needs in Watertown, WI. 

Types of Periodontal Disease

Understanding the types of periodontal disease empowers you to identify your condition and seek the most appropriate treatment. There are two types to know: gingivitis and periodontitis.

Gingivitis 

Gingivitis is marked by swelling, increased sensitivity, possible discoloration, and gum irritation. 

Symptoms of Gingivitis:

  • Gums appear shiny 
  • Bright red or purple gum tissue
  • Gums bleed easily when brushing or flossing 
  • Gums are tender to the touch but do not hurt otherwise
  • Chronic bad breath that does not go away with good dental hygiene 

The key to fighting gum disease is to get professional treatment as soon as possible. Your dentist can identify the current stage of your gingivitis, perform a cleaning, and even offer a prescription mouthwash if necessary. 

In addition to professional care, you must follow good dental hygiene practices at home. Brushing your teeth at least twice daily for two minutes at a time, flossing, and avoiding high-sugar foods and beverages can help prevent and treat gingivitis. 

Periodontitis 

When gingivitis goes untreated, it advances to a more serious gum disease called periodontitis. This condition poses a serious threat to your gums, teeth, and overall health, as infection can spread through the gum tissue to other parts of your body. 

Without treatment, periodontitis can reach the bone that supports your teeth and cause them to fall out. The good news is that periodontitis is highly preventable — and there are treatment options to arrest its progression if you currently have the condition.

Symptoms of Periodontitis: 

  • Dark gums that appear red, brown, or purple
  • The toothbrush appears pink after brushing
  • Bleeding when brushing or flossing 
  • Gum sensitivity and pain when touched
  • Blood in saliva when brushing teeth
  • Spaces between teeth that look like black triangles 
  • Swollen marks on gums that may have pus  
  • Gums pulling away from teeth 
  • Shift in how teeth line up (bite misalignment) 

You can help prevent periodontitis by seeing your dentist for regular check-ups and dental cleanings. If necessary, they can perform a deep cleaning, which includes scaling and root planning, to thoroughly remove plaque and bacteria from your gum pockets.

Treatment Options 

Treating gum disease is a combination of professional care and at-home dental practices. Your dentist can perform an exam and cleaning, as well as prescribe antibiotics if needed to lower inflammation and help your body fend off the disease-causing bacteria.

Dentists also help you understand the causes of gum disease and identify your risk factors. At home, you must follow good dental hygiene practices, such as brushing frequently for the right amount of time, flossing, and eating a healthy diet that protects your teeth and gums. 

Depending on the severity of your gum disease, your dentist may recommend treatment options such as:

  • Gingival graft — Gum tissue is taken from one area to cover exposed tooth roots in another. 
  • Scaling and root planing — A deep cleaning that treats gum disease by removing plaque and bacteria from below the gum line.
  • Laser treatment —  Lasers are used to remove diseased gum tissue.
  • Flap surgery — A treatment for moderate to severe gum disease that involves making incisions along the gums to clean the roots beneath them. 

Bone grafting — Replaces bone in patients whose gum disease has caused jaw deterioration; this can also be a preparatory step for dental implants.

How Is Gum Disease Diagnosed? 

Your dentist will perform a dental exam to examine your gums for signs of disease. Using a small ruler, they can measure the gums around your teeth to look for signs of recession. Healthy gum pockets are 1 to 3 millimeters deep. Anything beyond this can indicate gum disease. It is also common to use X-rays to evaluate the health of your teeth and jawbone.

Schedule an Appointment With Our Team 

Riverside Dental in Watertown, WI, is here to help you with all your oral health needs. From preventative cleanings and exams to periodontal disease treatment, we are here to help. Please call (920) 262-2176 or contact us online to arrange an appointment. 

Contact Us

Dentist Watertown

1521 Doctors Court
Watertown, WI 53094

(920) 262-2176

Monday: 10:00am – 7:00pm
Tuesday: 8:00am – 4:00pm
Wednesday: 8:00am – 5:00pm
Thursday: 8:00am – 3:00pm