Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is considered an infection of the gum areas surrounding the teeth. It’s one of the top causes of tooth loss in adults. Since a patient often experiences gum disease without any associated pain, they might not know they have it until it is a significant issue. Most often, signs of gum disease are found during regular dental checkups.
The Causes of Gum Disease
In most cases, gum disease is the result of the build-up of plaque. When plaque is allowed to develop over time, it continues to build up and create toxins that then damage the gums. Periodontal disease occurs just below the gum line and leads to the creation of small pockets that separate the gums from the teeth. The disease has two distinct stages:
This is the early stage when gums become swollen and red and bleed easily. During this stage, the disease is treatable and can be eliminated by regular brushing.
If left untreated, gingivitis can become periodontitis. At this stage, the gums and the bone that support the teeth can be significantly damaged. In some cases, the damage is irreversible. Gums infected with periodontitis may lead to the patient experiencing tooth loss or having their teeth removed by a dentist.
The following lifestyle factors increase your chances of having a periodontal disease:
- Smoking or chewing tobacco products
- Taking medications such as cancer therapy drugs, calcium channel blockers, oral contraceptives, steroids and anti-epilepsy drugs
- Having bridges that no longer fit
- Crooked teeth
- Old fillings
We know from working with past patients it’s possible to have periodontal disease and not know you’re experiencing the issue. The following symptoms should be considered:
- Red, swollen gums
- Gums that bleed easily when brushed
- Pus in the teeth and gums
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth area
- Problems with bad breath
- Issues with permanent teeth loosening
- Changes in how partial dentures fit
Treating gum disease
Each case of periodontal disease is unique and treatments vary depending on the extent of the problem. Treatment options can include:
- At-home periodontal trays, scaling, and root planning
- Periodontal surgery and laser gum surgery
- Dental implants
Prevent Gum Disease with Dr. J Dental
The data shows that regular checkups are your best defense against gum disease. The process ensures a specialist is regularly reviewing your oral health and working to protect your teeth and gums. Oral health maintenance at home is also essential. Remember to take the time to brush properly, clean in between all teeth, follow a healthy diet and floss regularly. Make sure you contact our trusted oral health experts if you have any questions. Call today to book an appointment!