What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is responsible for about 70 percent of adult tooth loss. Plaque, a sticky substance that forms in the mouth, can get inside the space between the gum line and the tooth. This can occur from food, saliva, and bacteria. If patients do not remove this plaque it can harden into a substance called calculus or tartar. Both of those substances are very difficult to remove.
Eventually, the bacteria in the plaque and tartar eat away at the fibers that hold the gums to the teeth, creating deep pockets. As bacteria spread, the pockets become deeper until the bacteria finally eat away the bone that holds the tooth in place. Gum disease that is not treated can also lead to tooth loss.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
As gum disease progresses and is left untreated patients can experience the following symptoms:
- Swollen and sore gums
- Red or inflamed gums
- Gums that bleed easily
- Receding gums
- Loose teeth
- Chronic bad breath
- Pain when chewing
How Do We Diagnosis Gum Disease?
The dentists at New Smiles can diagnose gum disease by measuring the depth of the pockets around each tooth. Pockets that are greater than 3 millimeters in depth are hazardous and will generally require treatment. The early detection and prevention of gum disease are another reason to see your dentist regularly for cleanings.
Gum Disease Treatment
At New Smiles, our dentists treat gum disease by carefully removing the bacteria and substances that form in the pockets around the teeth. The removal of this material occurs on a microscopic level and requires great skill. Our dental team has had advanced training regarding how to effectively remove all of the bacteria.
This process of removing the bacteria usually requires several visits to our office. After we remove the bacteria, we clean and the pockets and schedule regular visits so we can help you maintain them. If this is not done the bacteria will return.
How do I Maintain my Oral Health?
Keep in mind that once you have contracted a periodontal disease, you will always have the disease due to the damage that it does to your body. Careful daily hygiene and regular dental visits to clean your pockets are required to keep the bacteria from returning. After the initial dental appointments to remove the bacteria, a regular appointment schedule called “periodontal maintenance” will help keep your pockets free of bacteria.
How Can I Prevent Gum Disease?
Remember, it is always better to prevent disease than to treat disease. Below are some things patients can do to prevent gum disease.
- Don't smoke
- Eat a healthy diet
- Floss and brush teeth daily
- See a dentist at New Smiles regularly