Take a good look around you at your group of friends and peers. Did you know that at least half of you have some degree of gum disease? It seems somewhat shocking and unfathomable, but the fact is, gum disease is a very common chronic disease that affects over half of all adult Americans. While this disease can often be prevented with the introduction of a good oral hygiene regimen, it continues to affect so many of our patients.
However, just because gum disease is a common condition, we here at Wanserski Dental Center for Complex Dentistry want to strongly stress the dangers of this problem. If left untreated, it can lead to dangerous complications that can seriously harm your health, such as cancer, stroke, heart attack, and even death. If you have gum disease, you may need periodontal care to help address it and prevent these complications from occurring.
What is Gum Disease Exactly?
Early-stage gum disease is also known as gingivitis. Signs of gingivitis include red and swollen gums, bad breath (also called halitosis), receding gums, and blood after you brush and floss your teeth. Gingivitis can be cured if caught early enough.
Once gum disease progresses beyond gingivitis, it is no longer able to be reversed. Instead, it must be managed. At this stage, it is known as periodontitis. Symptoms of periodontitis include severely receded gums, tenderness, red and swollen gums, and loose teeth. Gaps and spaces may also start to form between the teeth, as well.
How is Gum Disease Managed?
Gingivitis can be treated by introducing a good oral hygiene practices when at home, plus making sure you schedule and keep regular dental appointments. We advise that you come in every six months for a checkup and cleaning. You can help prevent and stop gingivitis by making sure you brush your teeth twice a day, for two minutes each time, and floss at least once per day. Antibacterial mouthwash can also be beneficial.
Periodontitis cannot be treated simply with good oral hygiene. It needs more serious intervention. To help manage it, we often start our patients with a deep cleaning, which is also known as a scaling and root planing. A scaling removes all of the hardened buildup (calculus) from your teeth, thoroughly cleaning them for you. Root planing removes all the calculus from underneath your gumline, but it also smooths down your tooth roots. That makes it harder for the bacteria and buildup to return, and it also makes it easier for your gums to reattach to your tooth roots. This can stop the progression of your gum pockets.
For more serious cases of periodontitis, surgical intervention may be necessary. A gum graft can help treat severe gum recession, and a root canal may also be necessary for some patients. Depending on how advanced the gum disease is, we may advise a combination of treatment options for you.
Gum disease can quickly become dangerous if left untreated, leading to tooth loss or even systemic infection. If you suspect that you may have gum disease, or you would like to set up an appointment with us to learn more about periodontal care, please give us here at Wanserski Dental Center for Complex Dentistry a call today at (715) 841-9161.