Gum disease is a common dental health issue that affects about 50% of the current US population. It’s an infection and inflammation of the gums that is typically caused by poor dental hygiene. When plaque and bacteria build up along the gumline, infection can occur, leading to gingivitis (the first stage of gum disease). If this problem is caught early on, it can be easily reversed with brushing, flossing, and regular visits to our office. However, if it persists, gum disease can lead to more severe oral health conditions like tooth loss.
The sooner you can recognize gum disease, the easier your path toward a healthy smile will be. That’s why it’s important to know and understand these common warning signs:
If you notice any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact our office right away for treatment.
We offer multiple options for gum disease treatment, and the solution that works best for you will depend on the severity of your infection. In some case, we may combine multiple treatments for the best results. These solutions for a healthy smile include:
We recommend that patients come to see us for checkups at least once every six months because this allows us to catch gum disease as early as possible. During its initial stages, treatment usually consists of only a professional cleaning and more diligent brushing and flossing at home. However, in cases of more advanced gum disease, our team may recommend scaling and root planing.
For the scaling portion, a small ultrasonic cleaner will be used to remove hardened plaque deposits (called calculus) that have built up below the gum line on the roots of the teeth. Once they are out of the way, root planing will involve smoothing out any rough surfaces in the area. This will make plaque less likely to accumulate around the gum line in the future, protecting a patient from reinfection. Depending on a patient’s situation, a complete SRP treatment can take anywhere from one to four appointments to complete.
Often used alongside scaling and root planing, antibiotic therapy can be administered both topically and in pill form. Antibiotic gels and mouth rinses treat concentrated areas of gum disease, and we can prescribe you oral antibiotics to eliminate disease-causing bacteria in the mouth. This nonsurgical option is effective and comfortable for patients with gum disease.
While periodontal disease is often considered to be a dental problem, it can also directly impact a patient’s overall health over time. A loss of teeth can make it more difficult for someone to chew properly, which can lead to digestive problems. Plus, new research is revealing that periodontal disease has a strong connection to cardiovascular issues, diabetes, and even Alzheimer’s disease. It’s believed that the harmful bacteria responsible for periodontal disease has the ability to enter the bloodstream and travel to other organs in the body, causing damage and inflammation. In study after study, subjects with periodontal disease were shown to suffer from much higher rates of heart attacks, strokes, and other serious ailments compared to the general population.
And, certain general health conditions can make someone more susceptible to periodontal disease as well, namely diabetes. A person with diabetes tends to have more sugar particles leftover in their mouth after eating compared to someone who doesn’t, which can increase their risk of infection because oral bacteria has more fuel to grow and multiply.
This information is why we recommend that our patients come to see us at the earliest indication of periodontal disease, because treating it will not only protect their smile, but every other part of them as well!