Alfredo Alexander, DMD
Restorative & Cosmetic Dentist located in Philadelphia, PA
Gum disease is a serious dental health issue that can also compromise your overall health. Under the care of Alfredo Alexander, DMD, at his self-titled practice in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, residents can improve their gum health and find lasting treatments for gum disease. That process begins by booking a visit at Alfredo Alexander DMD online or by calling to secure an appointment time that fits your busy life.
Gum Disease Q & A
What is gum disease?
Gum disease occurs when bacterial growth damages the soft tissues that surround your teeth. Your gums surround your teeth and bone tissue, creating a barrier between the inside of your mouth and your bloodstream.
When that barrier is weakened by gum disease, bacteria from your mouth can enter your bloodstream and cause widespread health problems. Advanced gum disease can also weaken the connection between your teeth and bone, eventually causing tooth loss.
Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease and is characterized by gum inflammation. Gingivitis is very common, and most people will experience it at one point or another. At this stage of gum disease, your teeth are still firmly anchored in their sockets and the condition can be reversed.
Left untreated, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis. This condition develops when your gums become so inflamed they begin to pull away from your teeth and bone tissue, creating small pockets where bacteria can thrive. Because you can’t clean those areas on your own, periodontitis can quickly worsen.
Routine dental exams are the best way to know if you have gum disease. You’ll also learn how to prevent gum problems by boosting your dental hygiene routines.
How do I know if I have gum disease?
Bleeding gums is a primary sign of gum disease. If you notice a pink or red tinge in the sink during or after brushing, you need to schedule a diagnostic exam with Dr. Alexander.
Additional signs of gum disease include:
- Red or swollen gums
- Receding gums
- Persistent bad breath
- Loose or shifting teeth
- Changes in the way your teeth fit together
Gum disease can advance quickly, so be sure to schedule an exam if you notice any of these changes.
What kinds of treatments can help with gum disease?
If you have gingivitis, you may be able to reverse the condition simply by improving your dental hygiene routine. A professional cleaning will give you a great start, and Dr. Alexander can show you how to brush and floss to remove all traces of plaque.
If you have periodontitis, more advanced treatment is needed. Scaling works by manually scraping all accumulated hardened plaque (tartar) and bacteria from the area above and below your gum line. Root planing smooths the surfaces of your tooth roots, making it harder for plaque to gain hold.
Advanced cases of gum disease may need a course of antibiotics to prevent infection. If you’re prescribed antibiotics, be sure to take the medication exactly as prescribed to avoid a more serious rebound infection.
If you’re concerned about changes in your gum tissue, schedule an exam with Dr. Alexander using the simple online booking tool or by calling the office to speak with a friendly member of the administrative staff.