What is Gum Disease?
Did you know that three out of four adults have some form of gum disease? Yet, less than fifty percent visits a dentist for annual check-up. Gum Disease or Periodontic Disease is an infection of the gums surrounding your teeth. Because most patients do not experience any pain, they are not aware that they have the disease. Gum Disease is the leading reasons for tooth lost.
There are two stages of gum disease: Gingivitis and Periodontitis
This is the early stages of gum disease and is treatable. Gingivitis is inflammation of the gingival which, if not treated, would lead to periodontitis. During the early stages, the gums become red, swollen and bleeds easily.
Periodontitis occurs when gingivitis is not treated which causes the destruction of the surrounding tissues and the underlying bone structure of a tooth. Gum and bones that support the teeth will become seriously and irreversibly damaged. Gums infected can cause teeth to become loose, fall out, and eventually needed to be removed.
The nature of gum disease is episodic and chronic. Episodic means the disease will cause destruction to bone support and tissue one day and then remain inactive another. As time progresses, without treatment the condition becomes chronic, which would lead to unnecessary tooth loss. Thus, early detection is the most important preventive tool.
Gum disease is the most preventable disease, yet three in four adults have it. Preventing gum disease now will prevent unnecessary surgery and expensive treatments down the road. Consult your dentist today for a healthy confident smile.
Causes of Gum Disease
A build-up of plaque, if not removed by flossing, brushing, and regular dental check-ups and cleaning will continue to build-up and create toxins that can damage the gums. Gum Disease forms just below the gum line and creates small pockets that separate the gums from the teeth. Depending on the severity and stages of the disease, not all form of gum disease will lead to tooth loss, provided early treatment is delivered.
There are some factors that increase a patient’s risk for developing gum disease:
• Smoking and using chewing tobacco
• Certain medications (Steroids, anti-epilsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs)
• Hormonal changes such as Pregnancy and menopause
• Family History of gum disease
• Bridges that no longer fit properly
• Poor Oral Hygiene
Recent studies have shown systemic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and low-term birth weight in pregnant woman are linked to gum disease. The oral cavity is the window to one's overall health.
Signs of Gum Disease
Most adults are not aware that they have gum disease because they experience "no pain." This is a misconception. By the time they experience pain, it may be too late for the dentist to help save the tooth. There are signs that may serve as a road map to help one self-diagnose if one has gum disease. However, only a dentist could determine which form and stage of the disease a patient has and the severity of it.
Signs of gum disease include the followings:
• Bleeding when flossing or brushing
• Halitosis (bad breath)
• Redness of the gum
• Receding Gums
• Loose or shifting teeth
• Changes in your overall bite or jaw function
Another misconception that is often said is "I brush and floss too hard that's why my gum bleeds sometimes. Healthy gum does not bleed. One has to use a brush made of metal bristles to have healthy gum bleeds.
The goals of treatment are to promote the reattachment of healthy gum to the teeth, reduce the swelling of the gums, decrease the risks of infection as well as stop the progression of the disease.
The course of treatment depends on the stage of the disease.
• Scaling and root planing (Deep Cleaning)
• Flap Surgery
• Bone Grafts
• Tissue Grafts
• Bone Surgery
Developing and practicing good oral hygiene at home is the best course of action to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Regular dental checkups and comprehensive examines are is necessary to maintain your oral health as well as the overall health.
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