Gum disease is a common condition that affects millions of Americans each year. While this condition is completely preventable, people of all ages can get some form of gum disease. At South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics, we hope to educate our patients and their families about gum disease prevention and treatments so that we can be sure to keep their teeth, gums, and bodies healthy.
WHAT IS GUM DISEASE?
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a condition that affects the gum tissue and bone. Gum disease has also been linked to other medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and even Alzheimer’s. Gum disease is characterized by inflammation of the gums. This is a chronic infection that can affect anyone. Even once children start growing their first teeth, there is a potential for developing gum disease.
It starts with a buildup of plaque on the teeth. Plaque contains bacteria that harms and damages the gum tissue, leaving the teeth exposed to more bacteria. There are a few different types of gum disease which have varying degrees of severity.
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF GUM DISEASE?
There are three common types of gum disease. These are:
- Gingivitis: This is the earliest and most common type of gum disease. This is characterized by the gums being sensitive, swollen, and prone to bleeding.
- Aggressive Periodontitis: This type of gum disease mostly affects teens and young adults. It is characterized by the loss of alveolar bone, which is the bone that holds the teeth.
- Severe Periodontitis: This is the latest stage of gum disease and often results in tooth loss since the periorbital fibers and bones supporting the teeth are destroyed.
HOW IS GUM DISEASE TREATED?
Gum disease can be easily treated if caught in the early stage (gingivitis). By keeping regular dental appointments with your dentist at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics, we can be sure to remove any plaque and clean the teeth so that they are free from plaque and tartar. If the gum disease is more severe, then scaling and root planning can be performed to treat the diseased areas.
During scaling and root planning, our highly-skilled dental hygienists will use an ultrasonic scaling device to remove any plaque, tartar, or food buildup both on the teeth and below the gum line. Then, they will scale the tooth and root to make the surface smooth and free of disease. If you are experiencing severe periodontitis, then surgery and bone grafting may be needed to repair the damage.
COMMON SIGNS OF GUM DISEASE
Although you may not be an expert on gum disease, there are a lot of symptoms that you can recognize to see if you or your child may have some type of gum disease. The common symptoms are:
- Persistent bad breath
- Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
- Receding gums
- Tender, swollen, or inflamed gums
- A visible buildup of tartar
- Loose teeth
- Separating teeth
ARE YOU A CANDIDATE FOR GUM DISEASE TREATMENT?
Anyone of any age can get gum disease. Once our teeth start to come in as a child, they can be vulnerable to harmful bacteria. If you feel that you or your child may be experiencing gum disease, come in for a dental checkup. This is the best way to prevent any further decay or damage to the teeth and gums. It’s important to remember that the best way to prevent gum disease is by regularly brushing and flossing your teeth, as well as visiting your dentist. The dental team at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics want to help protect you and your family’s teeth and overall health.
SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION
If you are concerned about gum disease and would like to speak with our dentists about the signs and prevention steps, don’t hesitate to come in for a dental exam and hygiene visit so we can help. To make an appointment at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics, call our office or fill out an online form and we will reach out to you.