Gum disease is one of the major causes of infection and tooth loss. Gum disease is inflammation in the gums caused by a bacterial infection. Gum disease is classified as gingivitis or periodontal disease.
- Red, swollen gums
- Pain while brushing or flossing
- Loose teeth
- Bad odor
- Risk factors:
- Crooked teeth
- Uneven bite
It’s only in my mouth, what’s the big deal?
The bacteria associated with periodontal disease cause chronic inflammation in the mouth. However, it does not stay localized to just the mouth. Major systemic diseases present with chronic inflammation too. Periodontal disease has been linked to other systemic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, pre-term labor, and even cancer.
What’s the difference?
Gingivitis is reversible and does not cause damage to the structures surrounding the teeth. But left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontal disease. Periodontitis is irreversible and causes damage to surrounding tooth structures such as bone loss.
How do we screen for gum disease?
At your preventative care appointment, your dental hygienist will measure the pocket depths or the attachment of your gums. Your gums attach to the teeth at a lower point than the gum edges that we can see, which forms the sulcus. If the sulcus is not kept clean from food or plaque, then it becomes a place to harbor bacteria, causing gingivitis. Your dental hygienist will explain the areas that are presenting with pocket depths greater than 3 millimeters. We also use your yearly bitewing X-rays to check for bone loss between the teeth.
How do we treat gum disease?
When a patient presents with gingivitis, we will talk about ways to improve home care techniques and may recommend that you come in more frequently for cleanings to address the inflammation. If a patient presents with periodontal disease, we will recommend scaling and root planing as a form of periodontal therapy in the areas to remove tarter build-up and flush out the bacteria that is harboring in the sulcus.
How to prevent it?
- Come in for your routine cleanings.
- Brush your teeth every morning and every night for at least 2 minutes.
- Floss your teeth every day.
Your Dentist in Charlotte, NC
If you think you may be suffering from the early stages of gum disease, it’s time to get treatment. Call us today or schedule an appointment online!