Understanding & Arresting Gum Disease
Periodontal (gum) disease is one of the most common oral health concerns. In fact, more than 50% of adults over 30 experience some level of gum disease. That’s why periodontal charting is part of every checkup at Dr. Merrill A. Grant’s dental practice. This is a screening method that tracks the depth of the periodontal pockets, which is the space between the teeth and gums. Increased pocket depth is one of the earliest indicators of developing gum disease.
Gum disease occurs when plaque or tartar buildup at the gum line irritates soft tissue. In the early stages (also known as gingivitis), the infection causes a few, subtle side effects like bleeding or discolored gum tissue. Left untreated, gum disease develops into the more detrimental periodontitis. This advanced disease has been connected to a number of health concerns, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, elevated blood pressure, and strokes. While the warning signs of gingivitis may be too subtle for patients to notice, peritonitis has a number of painful and potentially damaging symptoms, including:
- Bleeding gums
- Pain or irritation in the gums
- Gums that seem to have receded
- Teeth that feel loose or a bite that doesn’t fit together properly
- Bad breath that does not improve following cleaning
- Tooth loss
- Infected gums or sores on gums
In the early stages, better at-home hygiene and more frequent professional cleanings may be enough to reverse the adverse effects of periodontal disease, but in its severe form, more advanced treatments may be necessary. Our team may recommend scaling, the careful removal of plaque and bacteria below the gum line, and root planing, the smoothing of tooth roots to prevent future plaque and tartar build up. We may also recommend applying local antibiotics to the affected area in order to thoroughly remove bacteria. In the most severe cases, we may recommend surgical therapies to remove infected tissue. Contact our office if you notice any of the warning signs of periodontal therapy.