What is gum disease?
Gum disease is the swelling or soreness of the soft tissue around your teeth. It is caused by bacteria in the plaque, a sticky colorless film that forms on your teeth. The plaque bacteria produce toxins that can lead to inflammation of the gums. The inflammation of the gums is called gingivitis. This initial stage of gum disease is reversible and very manageable. However, if you do not remove plaque by brushing, flossing and getting routine dental cleanings, it can build up and infect the gums, teeth and bone that supports them. This leads to a more severe form of gum disease called periodontitis. If left untreated, periodontitis can result in the loss of bone and possibly teeth.
The signs of gum disease are not always easy to see and can be painless until there is a very serious problem. The earlier gum disease is caught, the easier it is to treat. Visiting your dentist on a regular basis allows for us to catch things early.
Facts regarding gum disease:
On average, 50% of American adults between the age of 30 and 90 suffer from bleeding gums. Bleeding of the gums is not normal and should be evaluated.
People who have diabetes are twice as likely to develop serious gum disease.
Gum disease is the primary cause of tooth loss in adults 35 and over.
Smoking, crooked teeth, defective fillings, pregnancies, and use of oral contraceptives are some factors that increase the risk of gum disease.
A diet rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, found in foods like fish and nuts, can help lower the risk of gum disease
How is gum disease treated?
Depending on the severity of the disease we will recommend the best treatment necessary. We will start out with radiographs and periodontal charting to determine the bone level around your teeth and check for bleeding areas which indicated inflammation. After the severity of the disease is determined we may recommend a deep cleaning, or what is called scaling and root planning, done with local anesthesia to keep you comfortable. If the disease is more severe in nature we may recommend a referral to a gum specialist called a Periodontist, who may recommend a surgical approach that can at most times be performed with laser therapy.
After the initial treatment you will most likely always require more frequent cleanings, or maintenance visits, 3-4 times a year to maintain the bone level remaining around your teeth and catch any flair up or acute inflammation. This will not only allow us to help keep your gums and mouth healthy but also catch things early if needed.
Along with the dental treatment patients who are diagnosed with periodontal disease will also benefit from use of a waterpik , certain types of mouthwashes, and an occlusal guard. Our goal is help you keep your mouth healthy and help keep your own teeth as long as you can. Should some teeth need to be extracted we can discuss replacement options if needed.
A diagnosis of periodontal disease is unfortunate but we are here to support you and help get your gums and health back on