Bleeding Gums: Could It Be Gum Disease?

Bleeding after you brush your teeth and swollen gums are things you shouldn’t ignore. It could point to advanced periodontal disease, which affects nearly 65 million Americans. Periodontal disease is responsible for the majority of tooth loss in the United States.

Tooth loss brings many other dental complications, so if you can prevent this cascade of events, you should. 

Here at Popper Dental on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Dr. Marlisa Popper, Dr. Jason Popper, and Dr. Howard Popper are dedicated to identifying signs of gum disease as early as possible, treating it appropriately, and saving you from future dental adversities. 

Know the warning signs of gum disease

The precursor to a diagnosis of gum disease is gingivitis. Its symptoms include:

The causes of gingivitis include using tobacco products, failing to practice good oral hygiene on a daily basis, and simply getting older. There’s a lot you can do to prevent gingivitis, however.

If you skip brushing and flossing, your teeth develop sticky plaque. When this isn’t removed with brushing and flossing, it hardens and becomes tartar, aggravating your gums where they connect to the base of your teeth. 

Gingivitis can be reversed with proper care. This includes consistent brushing (preferably with an electric toothbrush) and flossing, refraining from smoking or chewing tobacco, eating a varied, healthy diet, and visiting us regularly at Popper Dental for routine cleanings and checkups.

Gum disease is stealthy

When a bacterial infection enters your gums because of entrenched plaque and tartar, your gums begin to move away from your teeth — and your condition has advanced to gum disease, or periodontitis. 

At this point, you notice amplified symptoms, such as intensified swelling, bleeding, foul breath, gum pain, visible gum recession, and most seriously, loose teeth. 

These symptoms can sneak up on you, and all of a sudden, you’ve got a serious dental problem on your hands that should only be addressed by a professional. 

The systemic nature of gum disease

It’s common knowledge that your oral health has a direct influence on your overall health. Oral health problems are linked to diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and dementia. Your mouth is the gateway to your body, and an infection that starts there can spread. 

I’ve been diagnosed with gum disease: Now what?

First of all, commit to doing something about it. Never skipping a checkup with us is key. That way, we won’t miss gum disease symptoms. If you come to us with the condition already, we devise a treatment plan exclusively for you

Treatments include irrigation of the pockets created by gum recession, antibiotic medications, and a game-changing treatment called scaling and root planing. 

Scaling and root planing

First, your dentist applies local anesthetic for your comfort. Then, your teeth and the pockets that formed between your teeth and gums are scraped of plaque (scaling). In the final step (root planing), we use specially designed tools to smooth the surfaces of your treated roots.

This last step is critical for helping your gums readhere to your teeth, ridding you of the problematic bacterial pockets, and discouraging them from forming again and getting infected.

A scaling and root planing procedure typically requires several visits, depending on how advanced your gum disease is, as we treat sections of your gums.

After this procedure is complete, your gums heal and stabilize, and we see you periodically to monitor your recovery. This procedure has an excellent success rate, with the typical pocket caused by gum recession reduced by 0.5 of a millimeter

Surgical procedures

If your gum disease is severe, we may recommend a surgical procedure like flap surgery, which requires your dentist to make minute gum incisions to enable your tissue to be lifted back further for more thorough scaling and root planing.

We might also suggest a tissue or bone graft procedure. Tooth extraction may also be necessary. 

Treatment tailored to your needs

No matter what stage of gum disease you’re experiencing, we have safe, successful treatments that can restore your oral health. 

Know also that we observe the most effective safety protocols to protect against COVID-19 in our office. 

If you’re concerned you have gum disease, call our office today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online

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