You may be surprised to learn that decay is not the greatest risk to your teeth. Periodontal disease, also called gum disease, is the most common cause of tooth loss among adults in developed nations. Additionally, it has been linked to serious health conditions such as heart disease, kidney problems, stomach problems, diabetes, stroke, and premature childbirth. It is treatable, and often preventable.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. It begins with bacteria and other harmful microorganisms colonizing in plaque and tartar around your teeth. The infection starts at the gum line and gradually spreads. As it progresses, the gums pull loose from the tooth roots creating deep pockets, which collect even more plaque and tartar. Without treatment, the infection can eventually reach the bone, eroding it to the point that the teeth loosen and fall out.
Sadly, many people do not seek treatment until the advanced stages. Many are completely unaware that they are afflicted, because the disease is usually painless and the symptoms are subtle. They include:
- Bleeding gums when you brush your teeth
- Discoloration or puffiness of the gum tissue
- Tenderness of the gums
- Pus around the teeth
- Separation of the gums from the teeth
- Gum recession, which makes your teeth appear longer
- Loose teeth (occurs in the advanced stages)
In many cases, periodontal disease can be prevented with good oral hygiene and visits to your dentist every six months. However, some people are especially susceptible due to genetics, medication, or certain health conditions such as diabetes. In these situations, we may recommend more frequent cleanings and checkups.
We strive to provide effective, conservative solutions to your dental problems, including nonsurgical periodontal disease treatments. The root of the problem is the tartar buildup on the tooth roots, which prevents the gum tissue from reattaching. Tartar is mineralized, hardened plaque, and it cannot be removed with something soft, like a toothbrush. A very gentle in-office procedure, called scaling, is used to remove the accumulation from the surface of the tooth root, below the gum line. This is followed by planing, a procedure that smoothes and polishes the tooth root, making it more difficult for plaque or tartar to accumulate in the future.
A cooperative effort between you and your dental team can bring periodontal disease under control, allowing you to enjoy optimal health and a solid foundation for your dazzling smile. Call us at (862) 766-6363
and schedule an appointment.