Countless adults are saddled with some form of gum disease. Some struggle with basic gum inflammation, referred to as gingivitis. Others have extensive damage to the bone and tissue that support the teeth. If your gum disease goes untreated, it is possible you might lose one or several teeth.
Gum Disease Basics
Most people are afflicted with some form of gum disease at some point in their life. The buildup of plaque on the teeth is the primary cause of gum disease. In particular, plaque that builds up along the area where the gum connects to the tooth is especially likely to lead to gum disease. The gums become swollen and red when gingivitis is present. Gums plagued by gingivitis are likely to bleed fairly easily.
Gingivitis is a comparably mild type of gum disease. If you suspect you have gingivitis, meet with your dentist right away for a full analysis. If the dentist determines you have gingivitis, he or she will likely advise a course of flossing and brushing along with consistent 6-month dental cleanings. Patients plagued by gingivitis will likely end up with periodontitis unless they receive timely treatment. This is exactly why it is prudent to meet with the dentist once every six months. If you end up with periodontitis, your gums will pull away from your teeth and create pockets that eventually become infected. These gaps are known as periodontal pockets. Bacteria will accumulate in periodontal pockets, leading to additional swelling and redness.
It is possible for periodontitis to alter the tooth root cover known as the cementum along with the fibers and bone that connect cementum to bone. The disease will gradually progress, causing significant bone loss and large gaps between the gums and teeth. If periodontitis is not treated, the gums, bone and connective tissue that provide essential support for your teeth will be attacked until they are destroyed.
Beyond Gingivitis and Periodontitis
Advanced periodontitis occurs after gingivitis and periodontitis. However, this extreme is usually avoided with regular dental care including visits with the dentist and the treatment tips detailed below. If advanced periodontitis develops, it impacts the patient’s bite as well as the manner in which he or she communicates and/or eats. If you reach this stage of gum disease, the dentist will provide aggressive periodontal therapy. However, there is a chance this therapy will not save gums and teeth plagued by advanced periodontitis If such a development occurs, the teeth will have to be removed and replaced.
Signs You Have Gum Disease
If you notice blood in your mouth, especially after brushing your teeth, there is a good chance you have gingivitis. Even gum swelling or gums that turn a different shade of red are likely stricken with gum disease. Some of those plagued by gum disease have bad breath and/or a bad taste in their mouth. Others have loose teeth. If you have partial dentures, you might notice a change in how they fit if you have gum disease. Furthermore, if you notice any difference in how your teeth fit together when biting, meet with the dentist. Teeth that are in the midst of separating are also a common sign of gum disease.
There is always the chance a patient has gum disease yet none of the signs detailed above manifest. It really is possible for absolutely no warning signs to show prior to the onset of gum disease. This is exactly why you should meet with your dentist at least once every six months for regular dental checkups1 including a thorough periodontal examination.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
The sad truth is most adults end up with some form of gum disease. However, those who are proactive have the potential to present the onset of gum disease. The consistent cleaning of your teeth with brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits is the best means of protection. Unfortunately, there is still a chance you will end up with gum disease at one point or another. You can be especially proactive by brushing and flossing after each meal. Bring some floss, toothpaste and a toothbrush to work or put these items in your purse for easy access on-the-go.
What Increases the Risk of Gum Disease?
As noted above, the failure to properly clean the teeth and visit with the dentist ramps up the chances of gum disease. However, oral healthcare inaction is not the sole cause of gum disease. There are some additional factors that make it that much more likely for gum disease to develop. Everything from the patient’s genetics to the use of chewing tobacco or smoking tobacco heightens the chances of gum disease. Those who are pregnant, are diabetic or have crooked teeth that are challenging to clean are also more likely to develop gum disease. Even the use of certain medications such as steroids, drugs for cancer therapy, oral contraceptives, and calcium channel blockers can contribute to gum disease development.
How to Treat Gum Disease
Early intervention is essential for the successful treatment of gum disease. Nip this problem in the bud with professional treatment right away and you will extend the longevity of your teeth. If you feel that a tooth is even slightly loose or if you have bleeding or swollen gums, meet with your dentist. The dentist knows exactly what to look for when treating gum disease. This professional will use a probe to examine the gums and measure the area between them and teeth. This measurement gauges the health of the gums as well as supporting structures.
The dentist will also advise you on the best ways to clean your teeth. Listen closely as the dentist details teeth cleaning techniques so you can remember every detail. The dentist will also likely attempt to remove plaque and the hardened version of plaque, known as calculus with a professional teeth cleaning.
Pleasant Hill Dental
If you suspect you have gum disease or if you have not been to the dentist in six months, contact Pleasant Hill Dental right away. Our team is here to treat your gum disease, improve your oral health and set the stage for a pain-free future. Reach out to us at (925) 692-2010 to schedule an appointment.