Gum disease (periodontal disease)
Gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. However, since it is usually painless, you be unaware that you have it. Also called periodontal disease, it is an infection of the gums caused by bacteria-laden plaque. Since this sticky film is always forming on our teeth, everyone has the potential to get gum disease.
Signs of gum disease
Gum disease is an infection, but it will not cause fever or pain. instead, you should look for the following warning signs:
- Do your gums bleed easily?
- Are they red, swollen, or tender?
- Do they appear to be pulling away from your teeth?
- Do you have persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth?
- Have you noticed permanent teeth becoming loose?
- Have you noticed a change in your bite (how your teeth come together)?
- Do your dentures or partials fit differently?
Risks of gum disease
All of us have the potential to develop gum disease. However, the following factors put you at a higher risk:
- poor oral hygiene
- smoking or chewing tobacco
- crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean
- medications, including steroids, certain types of anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers, and oral contraceptives
Stages of gum disease
In its early stages, gum disease is called gingivitis. Gums become red, swollen, and bleed easily. If caught early, gingivitis can be reversed. It can generally be eliminated by professional cleaning and regular, daily, brushing and flossing.
In its advanced stages, gum disease is called periodontitis. Nearly half of adults over 30 in the United States are affected by chronic periodontitis. As it progresses, it can cause the loss of tissue and bone that support your teeth. Teeth begin to feel loose and can eventually be lost. This may occur in only specific areas of the mouth, or over the entire mouth.
Treatment for gum disease
Treatment for gum disease depends upon its stage and severity. Often, all that is needed is a professional cleaning and improved dental hygiene. If your gum disease is advanced, you may need more aggressive treatments. In some cases, we may refer you to a periodontist, a specialist who treats severe cases of gum disease.
Preventing gum disease
One of the best ways to prevent gum disease is through good habits. Brush your teeth thoroughly twice daily. Floss or use interdental cleaners. Stay away from excess sweets and eat a balanced diet. These simple steps can help you keep a healthy smile.
Regular dental checkups
Since it is possible to have gum disease and not know it, it is extremely important to have regular dental checkups. We can help you monitor your oral health and hygiene and help prevent gum disease before it begins. And if it does develop, we can catch it in its earliest stages and eliminate it.
Do you have gum disease?
If you suspect you may have gum disease, please call us immediately. At Dental Arts Studio of South Tulsa, we are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of gum disease. Most importantly, the sooner you get treatment, the less aggressive the treatment will need to be.