Gum Disease aka Periodontal Disease is an inflammation that affects the tissues and bone that support your teeth. Healthy gum tissue hugs tightly around the teeth. When you have gum disease, your gums pull away from your teeth. As the gum disease gets worse, the tissues and bones that support your teeth are damaged. Over time, your teeth may fallout or need to be removed. Treating gum disease in the preliminary stages is very important and can help prevent tooth loss. That is why regular dental exams at Family Dentist of Palm Beach are so important.
Warning Signs of Gum Disease:
- Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
- Gums that are red, swollen, puffy or tender
- Gums that no longer tightly hug your teeth
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Felling that your teeth are loose
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- A change in the way your partial dentures fit
Gum Disease and Overall Health:
Gum disease has been linked to other diseases:
- Heart disease
It’s important to talk to us about medications you may be taking or healthy problems you may have. Together, we can work out an oral care plan for your best oral and overall health.
Causes of Gum Disease:
Plaque is a sticky film that is always on your teeth. Bacteria that live in the plaque can cause your body to react and make your gums become red, puffy and swollen. Plaque can harden when it’s left on your teeth and gums. Hardened plaque is also called tartar.
Gums that are red, puffy and swollen also start to pull away from your teeth. Spaces called pockets start to form between your gums and teeth. These pockets give bacteria a place to collect and grow. The bacteria in your pockets will cause your gums disease to get worse. These bacteria produce toxins, which causes your body to break down the gum tissues and bone around your teeth.
Treating Gum Disease:
If the gum disease is caught early enough (when it is gingivitis) you may simply need a professional cleaning. When the cleaning is not enough then a periodontal cleaning called a scaling and root planning is needed.
Scaling: We carefully remove plaque and tartar down to the bottom of each periodontal pocket.
Root Planning: Then, the tooth’s root surfaces are cleaned and smoothed. This helps the gum tissues to heal and reattach to the tooth.
Scaling and root planning may take more than one visit depending on the amount of treatment you need. At follow-up visits, we will measure the pocket depths to see if scaling and root planning has been successful. If the pockets have deepened and the supporting bone is lost more treatment may be necessary.
If the pockets do not heal enough after scaling and root planning, periodontal surgery may be needed. Surgery allows us to remove tartar and plaque from hard-to-reach areas. After surgery, your gums are stitched into place to tightly hug your teeth. Surgery can reduce pocket depth and make it easier to keep your teeth clean. If bone has been damaged by gum disease, you may need surgery to rebuild or reshape the bone.
How to know if you are at risk?
Anyone can get gum disease, but there are other things that can raise your risk of getting it. These include:
- Not taking care of your teeth and gums. Be sure you brush 2 times a day, every day, and for 2 minutes each time. Clean between your teeth every day.
- Using tobacco of any kind. You are more likely to have gum disease if you smoke, chew or dip tobacco.
- Diseases that affect the whole body – such as diabetes and HIV infection – lower your body’s resistance to infection, including gum disease.
- Many medications, such as those to treat blood pressure or steroids, can affect your gums. A common side effect is dry mouth. This can increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Tell us about all the medications you take and any changes in your health.
- Teens, pregnant women and those taking birth control pills have changes in hormone levels. These changes can cause gums to become more sensitive to plaque bacteria.
- Genes may play a role. If your parents wear dentures or you have a family history of tooth loss, be extra alert for changes to your gums.
- The bacteria that cause gum disease may be passed from parents to children and between partners through salvia.
Healthy Habits to Help Prevent Gum Disease:
- Clean between your teeth with floss or other between-the-teeth cleaner every day to remove plaque and food from areas your toothbrush can’t reach.
- Germ killing mouth rinse or another product (we would recommend)
- Eat a healthy diet that limits sugary beverages and snacks
- Visit us regularly to prevent and treat gum disease
Please call or come see us if you have any concerns or questions about gum disease. Its never too late to get your gums healthy!
Diagnosing periodontal disease:
How do i tell if i have Gum disease ? What signs or symptoms do i look out for ?
What happens if I ignore Gum (periodontal) Disease ? What's the worst that can happen ?
Diabetes and Risks of Periodontal Disease:
What is the connection between diabetes and periodontal disease ? Click on this link to watch a video
What is Deep Cleaning (SRP - Scaling and Root Planing) ?
Why and when Dr. Sirivolu & Dr. Patel recommend this cleaning for our patients?
Periodontal (gum) disease is insidious. It is an infection of the gums that starts out as plaque, an opaque film on the teeth that hardens to form tartar. As tartar accumulates, it harbors bacteria that attack the soft tissue around the gums. This is the early stage of gum disease known as Gingivitis.
Left untreated, Gingivitis becomes Periodontitis which ultimately destroys the tissue surrounding your teeth AND the bone that holds your teeth in place. Except for bad breath and gums that bleed, there are very few early warning signals.
The disease advances silently, often without pain, and before you know it, you are losing your teeth and you don't know why.
Tooth loss is only the most obvious indicator of gum disease. Scientific research has discovered linkage between gum disease and stroke, heart disease, diabetes - even an increased risk for pregnant women. When your gums become diseased, your entire immune system is weakened.
In the past, fear of painful dental surgery has kept people with gum disease from seeking the care they needed. Well, those days are gone forever. We have many choices of treatment for periodontal disease.