Early Detection of Gum Disease

Periodontal diseases range from simple gum inflammation to serious disease that results in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. In the worst cases, teeth are lost.
Types of Gum Disease
Gingivitis: Inflammation of the gums is called gingivitis. Gums become red, swollen, and bleed easily.

Periodontitis: Left untreated, gingivitis advances into periodontitis. In this stage, gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets of space that become infected. Bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place begins to break down. Teeth may become loose and have to be removed.

Cause:
Bacteria joins with mucus and other particles, such as food, to form a sticky, colorless coating on the teeth called plaque. Plaque can harden and form tartar, which becomes harmful to the gums.

Risk Factors
Certain risk factors increase the chance of periodontal disease:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Hormonal changes in females
  • Diabetes
  • Other illnesses (cancer, AIDS, etc.)
  • Medications (side effects that reduce the flow of saliva)
  • Genetics
  • Pregnancy
  • Crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean

Signs of Gum Disease

  • Bad breath that won’t go away
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Tender or bleeding gums
  • Painful chewing
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Receding gums or longer appearing teeth

Patients typically begin noticing signs of gum disease in their 30s or 40s. Men are more likely to have it than women.

Treatment:
Treatment methods depend upon the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed. Typically, plaque is removed through a deep cleaning called scaling and root planing. The tartar is scraped from above the gum line. Rough spots on the tooth root where germs gather are removed, which also removes the bacteria.

Depending on how far the disease has progressed, medication and surgery may also be suggested.

Prevention:
Your gum health depends on how well you care for your teeth and gums every day. Eating a well-balanced diet, regular twice-daily brushing and flossing, as well as bi-annual dental check-ups will promote healthy gums. Brushing and flossing eliminate plaque and any food left behind after eating. Once plaque builds up into tartar, only a dentist can remove it.

It is possible to have gum disease and have no warning signs, which is why regular dental check ups are crucial.

Call Premier Smiles today at 610-647-7611 or e-mail: drarhiri@premiersmilespa.com if you suspect you have gum disease. The sooner you treat it, the better, because gingivitis is still reversible and easily eliminated, but periodontitis is not.

Dr. Arhiri is experienced at treating periodontal disease non-surgically and an expert at cosmetic enhancements for patients with progressed gum diseases, such as replacing missing teeth with dental implants.

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