Have you noticed bleeding gums when you floss or brush your teeth? Are you concerned about sore gums?
Bleeding gums are one of the most common signs of gum disease. Gum pain, sore gums, and bleeding gums are often present in patients who have gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease. Your dentist in Columbia, SC treats bleeding gums, gum disease, and gingivitis with periodontal therapy. Dr. Trinkner and Dr. Keefer help many patients with this common dental health issue every day.
What Causes Bleeding Gums?
Bleeding gums may be a sign of gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease. Plaque forms on the surface of teeth and gums. If regular brushing and dental cleanings do not remove enough plaque, it can harden into tartar. Excess tartar buildup contributes to increased bleeding and can ultimately lead to an advanced form of gum disease called periodontitis.
Aggressive flossing, tooth brushing, or using a toothbrush with too firm of bristles can also cause bleeding gums. Pregnant women often experience bleeding gums as a result of hormonal changes in the body.
If you have bleeding gums, it is important that you contact our office as soon as possible to schedule an appointment for a periodontal screening.
The Periodontal Screening Process
A periodontal screening is a comprehensive evaluation of the health of your gums and supporting structures of the teeth. It is typically performed by a dentist or dental hygienist during a routine dental check-up. The purpose of a periodontal screening is to assess the presence and severity of gum disease.
During the screening, our dentists will visually examine your gums, and measure the depth of the spaces or pockets between the gums and teeth using a periodontal probe. We may also take dental X-rays to evaluate the extent of any bone loss. This evaluation helps to determine the stage of periodontal disease, ranging from gingivitis (mild inflammation of the gums) to advanced periodontitis (severe gum and bone damage).
Based on the findings, we can make appropriate treatment recommendations, such as deep cleanings, scaling and root planing, or more advanced procedures like periodontal surgery. Periodic periodontal screenings are crucial to maintain optimal oral health and prevent the progression of periodontal disease.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an inflammation of the gums due to a bacterial infection. As it progresses, gum disease affects the gum tissue as well as supporting bone, ultimately compromising the integrity of the teeth. Treating gum disease as early as possible is the key to avoiding permanent damage and avoiding the need for complex reconstructive and restorative care.
Gum disease has two distinct stages that are characterized by specific signs and symptoms. Dr. Trinkner and Dr. Keefer offer experienced care for diagnosing gum disease and working with you to restore your oral health through appropriate treatment and oral hygiene.
Treatment for Bleeding Gums
Treatment for bleeding gums should always be handled by a dentist. Do not attempt to treat bleeding gums at home or use over-the-counter medications without first visiting the dentist. Depending on your condition, there are several treatment options for bleeding gums.
Non-Surgical Treatment for Bleeding Gums
We strive to take the most conservative approach to treating bleeding gums and gum disease. Even for advanced cases, we will begin with non-surgical periodontal therapy to improve the overall tissue quality before surgery and limit the areas requiring surgery.
An intensive cleaning called scaling is the first line of treatment for periodontal disease. This procedure removes plaque and tartar from beneath the gum line. The tooth roots may also be planed to smooth root surfaces, allowing the gum tissue to heal and reattach to the tooth. The dentist may also recommend antibacterial rinses and other aids to reduce inflammation and cure gingivitis.
Some things that you can do at home to clear out infection and help your bleeding gums heal include:
- Improve your oral hygiene routine. Maintaining good oral hygiene by brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily can help prevent and manage bleeding gums.
- Use an antimicrobial mouthwash. Using an antimicrobial mouth rinse can help reduce the number of bad bacteria in your mouth, which may contribute to gum inflammation and bleeding.
- Try a saltwater rinse. Rinsing with a warm saltwater solution can help reduce gum swelling and promote faster healing.
- Consider getting an over-the-counter medication. In some cases, we can prescribe you with antimicrobial or antibacterial medications to control gum infections and reduce bleeding.
Surgical Treatment for Bleeding Gums
In some cases, surgical treatment may be necessary to cure gum disease. Periodontal surgery may include gum grafting, crown exposure, and even dental implants. Some of the common surgical treatments for bleeding gums include:
- Gingivectomy: This procedure involves the removal of excess gum tissue to eliminate deep periodontal pockets causing bleeding gums. A dentist may recommend a gingivectomy for patients with advanced gum disease (periodontitis).
- Flap surgery: Also known as pocket reduction surgery, flap surgery involves lifting the gum tissue to clean tartar and bacteria from the tooth roots and then repositioning the gum tissue to reduce the pocket depth. This procedure helps prevent gum disease from getting worse and promoting gum tissue regeneration.
- Soft tissue grafting: In cases where gum recession is causing bleeding gums, soft tissue grafting is the best option. This procedure involves taking a small piece of tissue from the roof of the mouth or another source and attaching it to the area with receding gums. It helps in covering exposed tooth roots and preventing further gum recession.
- Osseous surgery: This procedure can treat advanced gum disease that causes bone loss around the teeth. It involves removing and reshaping the damaged bone to eliminate the deep pockets and create a more favorable gum and bone environment.
- Laser therapy: Using dental lasers, dentists can preform certain gum treatments to eliminate bacteria, reduce gum inflammation, and promote healing. Laser therapy can also help in reducing bleeding gums and managing gum disease.
Schedule a dental exam and gums evaluation today! If you have sore gums or bleeding gums, contact our Columbia dentist office for a periodontal screening. Call us at 803-400-8729 or schedule an appointment online.