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Do you have gum disease? Before you answer “no”, remember that in the early stages, gum disease can be painless. But, if you notice that your gums have become swollen, red or tender, of if they bleed when you brush or floss you should contact your dentist. Other indicators may be bad breath, loose teeth, and a bad taste in your mouth.

Gum disease can be hereditary, or it can be caused by medications, diabetes, hormonal changes and tobacco use. However, gum disease is primarily caused by an accumulation of plaque and tartar on your teeth. Plaque causes your gums to swell, and more plaque builds up below the gumline. That opens the door for bacteria to enter your body and cause an infection.

In the early stages, your dentist can treat your gum disease with a process known as scaling and root planing. This is a two-step process, often done over the course of two visits, and may require a local anesthetic.

In the first step, scaling, the dentist will remove the plaque and tartar from the surface of your tooth, above and below the gumline. In the second step, root planing, the dentist will clean and smooth the roots of your tooth.

The best treatment for gum disease is prevention. You can prevent gum disease by brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing once a day and seeing your dentist every six months for your routine cleaning and exam. During your visit, the dentist can remove any remaining plaque and tartar from your teeth, and check for gum disease.

If you have noticed that you have the symptoms of gum disease, or if it is just time for our checkup, make an appointment today to see our dentist, Dr. Cameron Clark at Northwest Center for Dentistry in Kalispell, Montana. You can reach our office by calling (406) 752-4530.