Patients in Las Vegas ask, “What is gum disease?”
Gum disease is a widely used term that encompasses many levels of infection in the gums from gingivitis to full-blown periodontitis. Gum disease is typically a progressive condition that grows only if it’s not treated. Gingivitis, the earliest form of gum disease, causes the gums to become inflamed and bleed easily. It can be treated with professional cleaning and better brushing and flossing habits. However, if the gingivitis goes untreated, it can progress over time, and the symptoms will become worse and the treatment will be more aggressive.
Black gum disease is different from common gum disease because it doesn’t take a time to become serious. In fact, black gum disease can accelerate very quickly attacking and damaging tissue. Black gum disease is medically known as necrotizing ulcerative periodontitis, or NUP. It gets the name “black gum disease” because when it kills the tissue of the gums, the gums turn black. While the damage to the gums is serious, NUP is also a medical concern as it indicates the patient has a major immune deficiency.
Black gum disease is diagnosed through signs and symptoms such as black gum tissues, deep ulcers at the edge of the gums, immediate and severe pain in the jaw, bad breath that doesn’t go away, or a metallic taste in the mouth, bleeding for no reason, and an inability to chew, leading to malnutrition.
While NUP is severe, it is not common. Dr. Christopher Lim reminds patients that NUP occurs most frequently in people who have an immune deficiency, such as those who smoke, do not have proper nutrition, have high psychological stress levels, or an HIV infection. Treatment for black gum disease includes oral surgery to completely clean the infection and repair the gums, antibiotics to treat the infection, use of a medicated mouthwash, and education about better oral health habits.
The team at Hillside Dental has been helping Las Vegas, NV, area patients keep their mouths healthy for many years. To schedule an appointment, call our office today.