Although everyone understands the importance of visiting the dentist, many people don't do it nearly as often as they should. Whether it's fear of the dentist or any other reason, putting off your dental visits can lead to all sorts of problems with your teeth, gums, and jaw. In fact, one of the earliest problems you might encounter, aside from cavities, will begin in your gums. Here's what you need to know about red, swollen, puffy gums and the steps needed to treat them.
When Your Gums Have Just Started To Turn Red And Puffy
If you have only just recently noticed that your gums are red, swollen, and puffy, you've caught the problem early. This is a key symptom of gingivitis, which is the earliest stage of periodontal disease. As the earliest stage, gingivitis is treatable and can be reversed. However, in order to do this, you need to seek dental care right away when you notice the symptoms.
Gingivitis is caused when bacteria settles into pockets between your gums and your teeth. In order to treat the condition, your dentist will do a comprehensive cleaning procedure where tartar and bacteria will be scraped away from the tooth surface and just below the surface of your gums.
You'll be provided with a series of steps that you need to follow, as well. Your dentist may even prescribe an antibiotic to help reduce the risk of recurrence while your gums heal from the treatment.
When You Neglect Red, Puffy Gums
If you don't address your gums when they first become red and swollen, your gum disease will progress. It will gradually shift from gingivitis to periodontitis. Periodontitis cannot be reversed once it develops; it can only be treated to keep it from worsening.
Your gums will gradually separate further from your teeth. This exposes more of the base of your tooth and the root. Gradually, it will progress until enough of your tooth and root are exposed that your teeth will start to loosen and may fall out.
Treating periodontitis requires irrigation of your gums as well as scaling and root planing, where bacteria is removed from the roots as well as the gums. This is a more complex procedure, and you may be prescribed an antibiotic as well as a mouth rinse to help through your healing. You'll also have to visit the dentist far more often to help ensure that it doesn't recur.
To learn more, contact a family dentist.