Gum disease can steal your smile if you are not careful. Make sure you know what to look for and how to recognize the warnings when they appear.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is something we have all heard of but probably don’t think it applies to us. What if you were to find out there’s a 50/50 chance you’re suffering from a form of gum disease right now? Would that scare you? Most people think that because they brush their teeth, floss once a week, and gargle mouthwash occasionally, they are safe from gum disease. That is simply not true.
According to recent statistics, almost 50 percent of the adults in the United States suffer from some form of gum disease. That number jumps to more than 70% when you start looking at adults over the age of 65. If this disease were fatal or contagious, we would be looking at the modern-day black plague. Instead, the symptoms are mild in the beginning, so people overlook them as no big deal. Some don’t realize there is a real problem until they start to lose their teeth. In fact, gum disease is the number one reason adults lose a permanent tooth.
Gum disease is an infection in your gum tissue. Just like all infections, it starts out small and grows bigger if left untreated. You need to know what the signs and symptoms of this disease are before it is too late and begins to take teeth from your smile.
What are the Stages of Gum Disease?
There are two main stages of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. (You may hear gum disease called periodontal disease as well. They are the same thing.)
Gingivitis – The beginning stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. All gum disease (periodontal disease) progresses from gingivitis, but gingivitis does not have to become gum disease. This stage is the easier stage to clear up. The problem, however, is that the symptoms at this point are often overlooked or dismissed as nothing. The symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Bleeding from Brushing and Flossing – Many people are under the impression that it is normal for your gums to bleed when you are cleaning your teeth. Let’s be crystal clear on this point. There is NO MEDICAL REASON for your gums to bleed from simply brushing or flossing. If you are experiencing this symptom, you need to schedule an appointment with Dr. Anderkvist immediately to get your gums looked at.
- Inflamed Gums – Are your gums red, puffy, and tender? If so, you are beginning to develop gum disease. Your gums are in real danger. Any kind of delay in getting into the office will allow the infection that is beginning to rage in your gum tissue to destroy more healthy material.
Periodontitis – Gingivitis can become full-blown gum disease, or periodontitis, if you don’t take the step of getting into the office. We cannot help those who don’t come in. The symptoms at this level are not always as subtle as those of gingivitis. In fact, these symptoms can devastate your smile if you don’t get the infection taken care of.
- Gum Recession – As the infection in your gums grows, your gum tissue will begin to deteriorate. This will cause your gums to begin to recede from their normal level. You will start to see more of the crown of your tooth and will expose portions of your tooth root. Gum tissue provides needed support to your teeth. Without that support, your teeth will begin to loosen.
- Loose Teeth – The next part of the process is that your teeth will become loose. They will shift in your smile and may progress to falling out over time.
- Lost Teeth – This is the end result of gum disease. You can lose your teeth if you do not get the treatment you need. Call our office today to find out how we can help you restore your gum health.
What Treatments Are Available?
Scaling and Root Planing – This is a deep cleaning of your gums to remove the plaque and tartar that are feeding the infection in your gum tissue. Scaling will remove the plaque and tartar from around and under your gumline. Root planing smooths down the rough spots on your roots that bacteria likes to latch onto. This part also prepares the roots to accept new gum growth. We often use a laser for this type of cleaning.
Antibiotics – An antibiotic is used to clear the infection and return your gum tissue to a high level of health.
Call our office today at 310-208-4084 to schedule your appointment.