Infection in the Gums

Infection in the gums is a relatively vague term that can describe a few different dental conditions.  The mouth is full of bacteria, both good and bad.  Without great oral hygiene and consistent dental care, developing an infection is likely.

Causes of Gum Infections

There are two major causes of gum infections: one that originates inside a tooth, and the other that develops around a tooth or teeth.  Regardless of where it starts, a dental infection eventually ends up in the gums when there is no intervention by a dentist.

Infection in the Gums from Deep Cavities

Cavities are bacterial infections of the hard tissues of the teeth.  Beginning in enamel, the bacteria work their way into the underlying dentin and then to the hollow chamber inside the tooth containing the nerves and blood vessels.  They can then travel out through the tiny pore in the tip of each root into the surrounding tissues.  The resulting abscess manifests in a small boil or “pimple” on the gums.  This is often what people are referring to when they say that they have an infection in the gums.

Infection in the Gums from Deep Pockets

Infections can also develop around the tooth through the buildup of dental plaque.  Plaque contains disease-causing bacteria, which reproduce and become more aggressive as the amount of plaque grows.  Over time (without dental treatment), the plaque collects between the teeth and gums, leading to pockets or small spaces that your toothbrush bristles cannot reach.

This leads to a snowball effect: the buildup of bacterial plaque causes deeper pockets, and your toothbrush cannot clean the plaque, allowing the plaque to creep even deeper, so on and so forth.  Dental treatment is necessary to stop this vicious cycle.

In both of gum infection scenarios, the bacteria, their toxins, and the body’s response to them cause destruction of the bone and gums around the teeth.  That destruction can only be stopped through dental treatment.

Treatment for Gum Infections

The first important step in treatment gum infections is seeing one of our skilled dentists who will make the correct diagnosis.  Once your dentist determines the source of the infection, he or she can then discuss the various treatment options available.  

These options will include dental procedures like tooth extractions, root canal therapy, deep cleaning, or periodontal therapy. One of our board-certified at our Premier Dental locations will also discuss important aspects of home care that you will implement to prevent future infections in the gums.

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