A Progressive Disease
Gum disease begins as gingivitis, the first stage of infection. Patients may experience bleeding gums, tenderness, redness, and inflammation. If the offending bacteria are not removed during the gingivitis stage, deep pockets can form, leading to full-blown periodontal disease.
Gum disease in its more severe stages can cause tooth loss, gum recession, and eventually, bone loss. In addition, many health studies have revealed a link between gum disease and serious conditions like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, pancreatic cancer, and lung disease.
Step 1: Diagnosis
Unfortunately, the majority of gum disease cases are currently undiagnosed. The biggest mistake adults make is thinking that just because they received a clean bill of health at their last appointment, they can skip a check-up with no repercussions.
If left untreated for too long, infections in the gum tissue can spread to the tooth root and eventually attack precious bone tissue. Untreated gum disease can become very serious, causing teeth to become loose or fall out. With an early diagnosis, we may be able to reverse some of the damage and control the spread of bacteria.
Step 2: Effective Treatment
Infection of the gum tissue results from an uncontrolled buildup of plaque. The bacteria present in plaque can literally poison your mouth tissue and eat away at enamel. With personalized gum disease therapy, we can control the harm done by bacteria. Laser gum therapy, frequent check-ups, and education on proper dental hygiene can help you take control of your condition. Keep in mind that certain “whitening” toothpastes and alcohol-based mouth rinses may be counterproductive. A deep-cleaning method called scaling or root planing is often used to remove plaque and tartar from teeth above and below the gum line. Antibiotics, gingival grafting, and surgery may also be recommended for improvement.
Bacteria enter our mouths all day long. With all of the bacteria types that flourish there, it is up to us to be diligent about good hygiene. Of course, brushing and flossing after meals is important, but semi-annual check-ups and professional cleanings are also necessary to avoid infection.