Gum disease, also known as periodontal infection, is a serious problem rampant across the nation. In fact, research shows that over 80 percent of the U.S. population is currently suffering from some form of this infection. If left untreated it can lead to many other serious issues and is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults. Usually the infection starts small, hardly noticeable. Then the infection progresses from the simple stages into something more serious. Fortunately, with early and proper treatment from our dentist in Lake Mary, we can help you cure and prevent gum disease.
Causes of Gum Disease
Plaque is a sticky mixture of saliva and bacteria that collects along the gum line. When this substance is left to fester it can continue to build up. Over time plaque will release toxins that damage the teeth and gums. Though plaque is the common cause of periodontal infection, there are other factors to consider that will aggravate the problem. These include hormonal changes, illness, certain medication, poor oral health habits, smoking and genetics.
Early Warning Signs of Gum Disease
- Gums are red, tender or swollen
- Gums easily bleed when touched or brushed
- Puss begins to form between teeth and along gum line
- Gums seem to gap or pull away from teeth
- Chronic halitosis or bad breath
- Changes in your bite
- Teeth begin feeling loose
- Fit of dentures or other appliances has changed
The Three Stages of Gum Disease
Gingivitis the earliest stage of this infection. During this stage you will notice your gums become red and swollen. They might bleed when you brush and be sensitive when you eat or drink. During this stage, the infection can be easily treated by focusing on brushing, flossing and rinsing at home.
Periodontitis is the next stage that evolves when gingivitis goes untreated. During this phase of the infection harmful bacteria penetrate the gum line. The toxins from this bacteria begin to impact the supporting structures of the teeth. Sometimes this damage can be irreversible like serious decay or bone loss. The only treatment for this type of periodontal infection must come from a professional dentist.
Advanced Periodontitis is the final stage of gum disease. This is when the supporting fibers and bone of your teeth are completely destroyed, your teeth will shift and loosen, and eventually they will fall out. During this stage even aggressive treatment is not likely to save your teeth and they will probably need to be removed and replaced.
Professional Treatments for Gum Disease
Once the dentist has evaluated the condition of infection he will prescribe the right treatment for your needs. One non-surgical option is to take home periodontal trays. These help with scaling, root planing and deep cleaning the teeth and gums. Another treatment for gum disease is periodontal laser surgery to remove infected plaque and tissue. If the infection progresses to advanced periodontitis, the infected teeth will need to be surgically removed and replaced with implants.
Gum Disease Prevention
- Brushing and flossing
- Use a soft bristle brush that wont irritate gums
- Eat a healthy, well balanced diet
- Avoid cigarettes and tobacco
- Maintain regular dental appointments and cleanings
Do Not Hesitate to Call
When it comes to the health of your teeth and gums, you should never hesitate to contact us with questions or concerns. We can treat gum disease if diagnosed in the early stages, so it is important to notify us if you notice any of the warning signs. Otherwise, if you wait too long, it may be too late to save your smile.