Wednesday, November 19th, 2014
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a widespread condition that affects many adults. To learn more about this disease and how to prevent and treat it, here are the answers to some common questions asked by patients.
- What is gum disease? Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissue that surrounds and supports the teeth. Plaque is the sticky film of bacteria that is brushed and flossed away with proper oral care. When left on the teeth, plaque produces bacteria that attack below the gum line. This causes the bond between teeth and gums to break down. If left untreated, periodontal disease may also cause tooth loss.
- Are there different kinds of gum disease? Yes. In the early stage of gum disease, also known as gingivitis, gums may become red and swollen, and bleed easily. In the more advanced stage, referred to as periodontal disease or periodontitis, teeth can loosen and even fall out. Proper oral hygiene and regular dental examinations are essential in prevention and early detection of gum disease.
- What are the signs of gum disease? Signs of periodontal disease include: red, swollen and/or bleeding gums, persistent bad breathe or bad taste and loose teeth. However, sometimes there are no warning signs, making proper dental hygiene and regular visits to the dentist very important.
- What increases the risk for periodontal disease? The risk of developing periodontal disease may be related to the following habits and conditions: Tobacco smoking or chewing, systemic diseases such as diabetes, certain medications such as steroids, cancer therapy drugs and calcium channel blockers, pregnancy or use of oral contraceptives, crooked teeth, worn bridges or fillings, or ill-fitting dentures.
- What is the treatment? A patient is normally referred to a periodontist, who treats periodontal disease. Periodontitis is treated based on its severity and progression. Treatments may include: Scaling and Root Planing, a deep-cleaning method that removes bacteria from below the gum line and the tooth root, medication, or in severe cases, surgery. If other methods of treatment are ineffective, flap surgery may be performed to lift away gum tissue so that it can be cleaned underneath. Gum or bone grafts may also be performed to help regenerate any bone or gum tissue that has been damaged or lost due to periodontitis.
- Is gum disease preventable? Yes, in most cases. Plaque is the most common cause of periodontal disease that can be prevented with proper dental hygiene. Patients should also follow a healthy diet, refrain from smoking, and visit a dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings.
Dentistry in Toccoa
If you’re ready to learn more about preventing and treating gum disease, contact Wilbanks Smile Center today and schedule a consultation. Our offices are located in Toccoa, GA, and we can be reached at 706-886-9439. We look forward to serving you.