gum disease

gum disease is one of the top reasons for tooth loss in adults.

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums surrounding your teeth. Because it is virtually pain-free, many patients do not know they have the disease. During each regular checkup, your dentist will check for signs of periodontal disease by measuring the space between your teeth and gums.

Healthy Gums

Healthy Bone Level

Plaque

Tartar

Pocket

Reduced Bone Level

cause of gum disease

Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque (a sticky form of bacteria that forms on the teeth). If the plaque is not removed (by flossing, brushing, and regular dental chips), it will continue to build up and create toxins that can damage the gums. Periodontal disease forms just below the gum line and creates small pockets that separate the gums from the teeth. Periodontal disease has two stages: gingivitis and periodontitis.

gingivitis

Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease, when the gums become red and swollen, and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is treatable and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing.

periodontitis

If left untreated, gingivitis will advance into periodontitis, and the gums and bone that support the teeth will become seriously and irreversibly damaged. Gums infected with periodontitis can cause teeth to become loose, fall out, or be removed by a dentist.

factors that can increase a patient’s risk of developing
periodontal disease:

  • Smoking or using chewing tobacco (prevalence of gum disease is three times higher among smokers)
  • Diabetes
  • Certain types of medication such as steroids, anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, calcium channel blockers, and oral contraceptives
  • Bridges that no longer fit properly
  • Crooked teeth
  • Old fillings that are leaking
  • Pregnancy

symptoms of periodontal disease
(although it is possible to have the disease and not know):

  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste in mouth
  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
  • Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • Any change in the fit of partial dentures
  • Puss between your teeth and gums

treating gum disease

Treatments for gum disease can vary depending on the severity of each individual case. Typical treatments include:

  • Non-surgical treatments such as at-home periodontal trays, scaling and root planning (deep cleaning)
  • Periodontal surgery and laser gum surgery
  • Dental implants
  • Antibiotics and mouth rinse
  • Dental prescribed toothpaste to reduce plaque and gingivitis

preventing gum disease

Regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are important in maintaining your health and the health of your smile. You don’t have to lose teeth to periodontal disease, and by practicing good oral hygiene at home, you can significantly reduce your chances of ever getting gum disease. Always remember to brush at least twice daily.