What is Gum Disease?
According to the American Dental Association,
at least 60% of adults in the United States have moderate-to-severe
gum disease! No doubt, you've heard some of the terms:
Plaque, Tartar, Calculus, Gingivitis, Periodontitis,
Pyorrhea, Periodontal Disease, Gum Disease. But
what does it all mean? Quite simply, Gum Disease (Periodontal
Disease) starts when plaque and tartar (calculus) are
allowed to accumulate at the base of your teeth. The
bacteria in the plaque leads to an infection in the
gums (gingiva) called Gingivitis. Left untreated, the
infection spreads to the tissue and bone that holds
your teeth in place, a condition called Periodontitis
(Pyorrhea). Because of the bacterial infection associated
with Periodontitis, tooth abscesses
are also common.
This patient has Periodontitis.
Notice the bone deterioration and uneven level
Healthy gums and bone.
What are the Signs of Gum Disease?
Gum Disease is rarely painful, especially
in the early stages. Although there may be no visible
signs, some of the common indications of Gum Disease
- Gums that bleed when you brush or floss (healthy
gums will not bleed)
- Gums that are red, swollen, or tender
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth (receded)
- Pus (infection) between the teeth and gums
- Loose permanent teeth or separating (drifting) teeth
- Changes in the way your teeth fit together when
- Persistent bad breath
What are the Dangers of Gum Disease?
Gum Disease is the leading cause of tooth
loss among adults. More importantly, the infection releases
toxins into the bloodstream leading to serious health
Sources: National Institute
of Dental & Craniofacial Research
and American Heart Association
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Is There a Cure?
can effectively be used to treat and control even advanced
cases of Periodontitis (Pyorrhea), but the more advanced
the disease, the more likely it will lead to tooth loss.
Prevention and Early Detection are your best defenses
against Gum Disease. It is critical to catch and treat
Gum Disease early before destruction of bone and tissue
has compromised your oral health.
How Can I Prevent Gum Disease?
The best "brushers" in the world
will naturally build up tartar on their teeth. Even
patients with "healthy" gums and teeth should
see their dentist regularly to remove the build-up of
tartar and check for the formation of new cavities.
Patients with Gum Disease, or patients that build up
large amounts of tartar, may need to have their teeth
cleaned frequently to help control the amount of bacteria
in the mouth. At your regular recall appointments (Cleanings),
we always evaluate the condition of your gums.
thorough exam, which includes x-rays, visual inspection,
and an analysis of hard and soft tissue, helps determine
the health of your gums.
If you have any specific questions about
Gum Disease that weren't answered here, or if you would
like an appointment for a Gum Disease screening, please
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