Periodontal (Gum) Disease is a leading cause of tooth loss and may be associated with other chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and pregnancy problems. According to the American Dental Association, most adults have some form of gum disease and do not even realize it.
Types of Gum Disease
Gingivitis: Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. It causes the gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort at this stage.
Some people are more susceptible to gingivitis. Family history, eating habits and oral hygiene practices can all contribute to gingivitis. Other factors that may contribute to gingivitis include, diabetes, smoking, aging, genetic predisposition, systemic diseases and conditions, stress, inadequate nutrition, puberty, hormonal fluctuations, pregnancy, substance abuse, HIV infection, and certain medication use.
The good news, though is that gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care.
Periodontitis: Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. The toxins stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body in essence turns on itself, and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed.
As gums separate from the teeth, pockets form. These spaces between the teeth and gums can eventually become infected. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed.
Surprisingly, this destructive process has very mild symptoms. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.
How Is Gum Disease Treated?
Depending on the stage and severity of gum disease, we offer several treatment option at Lost Mountain Dental. In some cases, patients may restore gum health with a thorough dental cleaning and follow up care at home.
For patients with gingivitis, a procedure called scaling and root planing is often recommended for removing plaque from deep pockets of the gums and along the gum line. This intense cleaning is aimed at removing the build up of plaque and smoothing the tooth roots for the regeneration of healthy gum tissue to restore oral health.
Patients with more severe gum disease may require laser dentistry or gum surgery to remove diseased tissue and stabilize the teeth and gums.
Gum Disease Risk Factors
Are you at risk for gum disease? In fact, everyone is at risk for developing gum disease, although certain factors can greatly increase this risk and contribute to advanced gum disease and tooth loss.
Plaque is the main cause of gum disease, but there are also a variety of risk factors associated with gum disease. Understanding them can help patients with prevention.
- Smoking and tobacco use
- Genetic predisposition
- Stress and possible associated teeth grinding and jaw clenching
- Poor nutrition
- Systemic diseases
Discuss your health history and risk factor concerns with Dr.Mulkey and Dr. Hildreth at your next dental visit to learn more about long term prevention.