Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a persistent bacterial infection surrounding one tooth or several teeth. Nearly 80 percent of the U.S. population has some form of gum disease without even realizing it.
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The Risks of Gum Disease
Gum disease causes little discomfort and produces few obvious symptoms in the early stages. When periodontal disease is not treated, it spreads and compromises the teeth and gums.
Gums irritated by bacteria recede from the teeth, resulting in deep pockets where more bacteria can hide and multiply. This creates a breeding ground for bacteria and significantly increases the risk of developing cavities and other infections in your mouth.
Left untreated, gum disease can travel through your bloodstream and cause infection in other parts of your body. Periodontal disease has been linked to severe conditions such as cardiovascular disease and endocarditis.
As a defense mechanism, your immune system will go into overdrive to prevent infection. Unfortunately, your body can’t differentiate which parts of the mouth to fight and will attack your bone, as well. As the bone deteriorates, it will no longer be able to support your tooth, causing your teeth to fall out.
Treating Gum Disease
- Preventive Treatment
Early on, when redness, swelling, and bleeding are the only symptoms, we can manage and reverse gum disease non-surgically. Regular check-ups significantly increase your potential for early detection and conservative treatment.
- Deep Cleaning
An intensive cleaning will eliminate tartar, bacteria, and debris from underneath the gum line. The root of your affected tooth or teeth will also be planed to prevent bacteria from accumulating in the future.
If gum disease progresses without intervention, a patient may need surgery to remediate the disease and restore the mouth to good oral health. Typical procedures that periodontists may perform include pocket depth reduction, bone or tissue regeneration, crown lengthening, and soft tissue grafts.
The use of antibiotics can aid in halting the production of more bacteria. Mouth rinses, topical ointments, and gel inserts may be able to decrease your risk of recurring infections.