Gum disease is one of the most prevalent dental problems, as it affects half of all American adults. Often left untreated, periodontitis soon follows and its symptoms can eventually lead to tooth loss and permanent damage. While many people neglect treatment for gum disease, it’s best remedied early since there are three stages, and it does get progressively worse. Discover more about gum disease and how it can take its toll on your smile.
Gum disease is such a widespread problem that it affects half of all Americans over the age of 30. Since it’s most often diagnosed by a dentist, many sufferers aren’t aware they have gum disease. This creates a dangerous cycle, because the disease progresses over time if not treated quickly.
Gum disease develops when plaque accumulates near the gumline and causes the gum tissue to become infected. When left untreated, the condition worsens as pockets form in the gums and the infection spreads. Eventually, the fibers that hold the teeth in place are irreparably damaged and these later stages may require surgery for the patient to make a full recovery.
Yes! If patients have gum disease, it will have to be treated before dental implant surgery can take place. The reasons are that there are multiple aspects of dental implant surgery that have to be successfully completed, otherwise it’s not worth the risk of gum disease jeopardizing the procedure and health of the patient. If you currently have dental implants, gum disease can still be a potential threat to your health, so it’s important to practice good dental hygiene and treat gum disease at the offset.
Gum disease can be a problem of mild severity or one that causes great pain and puts your teeth at risk. In fact, it’s vital to treat gum disease as soon as possible – otherwise, it will get significantly worse.
These are the three stages of gum disease:
As the mildest stage, red, swollen gums are bound to be the first sign of gum disease patients will notice. There may be irritability or pain when brushing, flossing, and eating. While you won’t lose teeth when you have gingivitis, you might start to see infected pockets forming in your gums.
When gingivitis is left untreated, it evolves into periodontitis. With periodontitis, the infected pockets in the gums are more prevalent and larger than they were previously, and there may be permanent damage to the fibers that hold the teeth into place.
The most severe form of gum disease is advanced periodontitis. At this stage, every function involving your mouth is likely to lead to pain and discomfort, and your teeth are in legitimate danger of falling out. Treatment at this stage is likely to be surgery, such as a gum grafting procedure.
While exact plans for treating gum disease may vary by patient, certain procedures are commonly used for treating it in its various stages. Treatments like scaling and root planing and gum grafting are used to clean and restore the mouth to a healthy condition. Explore some of the treatments that are most often used for fighting gum disease.
For mild and moderate forms of gum disease, the scaling and root planing treatment may be used to clean the teeth all the way down to their roots. This process is often known as a deep cleaning, and it is extremely effective in getting rid of plaque and bacteria that can lead to gum disease.
Certain medications can cause gum disease and others can eliminate it. Since gum disease is caused by an excess of bacteria in the mouth, decreasing this bacteria can be effective in fighting the disease. It’s important to tell your dentist which medications you’re on so they know if any of them are exacerbating the problem.
For patients with advanced periodontitis, surgery may be required to restore gum tissue to where it’s needed in the mouth. Gum grafts are one of the most common surgeries used to fight gum disease. The goal of a gum graft is to take gum tissue from one part of the mouth and place it in a spot where the gums have become infected. This encourages the tissue to grow back and reform a healthy layer of gum tissue.
When you have gum disease, diagnosing and treating it early is paramount, and sooner is always better. Visiting us for your biannual dental appointments and taking great care of your teeth are excellent ways to increase the chances that your gum disease will be detected at an early stage. Don’t wait – contact us today to schedule your next appointment.
Dr. Eric Herman
608 South Quail Run Road
Monday: 9AM – 5PM
Tuesday: 9AM – 5PM
Wednesday: 9AM – 5PM
Thursday: 9AM – 5PM
Friday: 9AM – 4PM