Gum Disease Therapies
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is a bacterial infection that is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Incredibly, it impacts over 85% of Americans, but because the initial signs are mild, many people don’t even realize they have a problem until the disease has wreaked havoc on their oral health. What makes this worse is that there is evidence that periodontal disease leads to increased risk for other medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and complications during pregnancy.
What causes periodontal disease?
- Poor dental hygiene: Without proper flossing or brushing, bacteria and plaque can build up, resulting in gum disease.
- Age: More than 50% of adults aged 35-69 show signs of gum disease affecting 3 to 4 teeth.
- Smoking: Smokers are four times more likely to develop some form of gum disease in their life.
- Gender: Hormone changes in female patients can lead to increased risk for gum disease.
- Genetics: If your parents had periodontal issues, you are twelve times more likely to have the same oral bacteria that can cause gum disease.
Symptoms of periodontal disease
- Chronic Bad Breath
- Bleeding or Swollen gums
- Painful Chewing
- Teeth Sensitivity
- Receding Gums
Common types of periodontal disease
Periodontal diseases, which include gingivitis and periodontitis, begin with an excess of plaque, most often caused by inadequate tooth brushing and oral hygiene. Plaque is a sticky substance emitted by oral bacteria. It coats teeth and can harden into tartar, an insoluble substance that irritates gum tissue and leads to infection, causing the gums to become inflamed. If left untreated, will progress and evenutally lead to bone loss and subsequent tooth loss.
Gingivitis: The early stage of periodontal disease, called gingivitis causes swelling, redness, and bleeding of the gums. Although there is usually little to no pain or discomfort at this stage, if left unchecked, gingivitis can lead to a more serious condition called periodontitis.
Periodontitis: This disease is caused by failing to address gingivitis. Over time, plaque can spread and develop below the gum line, and bacteria begins to eat away the connective tissues between gums and teeth. The gum tissues separate from the teeth, forming pockets along the side of teeth which become infected with bacteria. As the disease progresses, the pockets get deeper at the expense of the bone. If enough bone is lost, eventually there is not enough left to support the teeth, and they become loose and fall out.
Treatments for periodontal disease
At scheduled dental cleanings, which you should have every six months, a hygienist will check for periodontal pockets. If you have pockets, their depth will be measures to determine the extent of the disease. Gingivitis can often be reversed with dental cleanings and regular brushing and flossing. Additionally, removing tartar from below the gum line and smoothing teeth roots—a procedure called scaling and root planning—is often effective in eliminating infection and stopping the advancement of gingivitis and periodontitis.
For advanced periodontitis, a surgical solution may be required. This could be anything from gum grafting and bone grafting procedures to pocket reduction surgery to guided tissue regeneration techniques.
At Epic Dental, we will diagnose and treat your gum disease using the most modern, state-of-the-art equipment. To learn more or make an appointment at our dental office, contact us today! We proudly serve Norwood, Walpole, and surrounding areas.