A common concern for many adults is gum disease, also known as Periodontal Disease. The symptoms that come along with it can be as minor as discomfort, or as major as tooth decay. Maintaining our oral health should always be as important as any other healthy habit. Being well informed is the first step to a healthy smile.
Causes and Risk Factors:
Plaque Build Up
Plaque isn’t always removed with regular brushing and flossing, and it can eventually turn into tarter. Tartar can only be removed via professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist.
Smoking is one of the most substantial risk factors in the development of periodontal disease. Smoking also decreases the likelihood of successful treatment.
For girls and women, hormonal changes in the body are natural and can’t be avoided. However, these changes can make the gums more sensitive and vulnerable to disease.
Infections are more prevalent for people with diabetes, which includes increased risk of oral infections.
A common side effect for many prescription and non-prescription drugs is the reduction of saliva. Saliva has a protective effect on the mouth. If the mouth lacks sufficient saliva for a length of time, your gums are more susceptible to disease.
Some people are naturally more prone to periodontal disease than others.
We will watch for signs of periodontal disease during your regular visits. But don’t ignore any possible symptoms. If you are experiencing any of the following, you may want to book an appointment for a consultation.
- Persistent bad breath
- Swollen or red gums
- Gum tenderness and bleeding
- Pain when chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums (you may notice that your teeth look longer)
Getting the infection under control is the primary objective. What treatment looks like will depend on each individual case and its severity. Your dentist will advise you on any additional measures to be taken and treatment options to be considered. Some treatments may include:
Deep cleaning removes plaque through a method of scaling and root planning. This goes beyond a regular cleaning. Tartar and rough spots on the root will be removed to prevent germs from gathering. In some more extreme cases, a laser may be used.
Medication is sometimes used in conjunction with deep cleaning procedures to help control bacteria in the mouth.
In more extreme cases surgery might be necessary. There are two commonly utilizes surgical treatments:
- Flap Surgery, when gums are lifted back to remove tarter and then sutured back in place.
- Bone and Tissue Grafts, a process of replacing degenerative bone or tissue allowing them to regenerate and grow more healthily.
How Can I Reduce my Risk of Developing Periodontal Disease?
Your main defense against periodontal disease is maintaining good oral care. Always be sure to:
- Brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste
- Floss daily
- Keep up regular dental appointments for professional cleaning and check-ups
- Not smoke