Do you notice blood in the sink after you brush and floss? Many people think this is normal, but the truth is that it could be an early sign of gum disease. Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, must be treated. Without treatment, it will continue to progress, and eventually, you might even lose teeth.
Gum disease is the top cause of adult tooth loss in this country, probably because it often goes unnoticed. Many times there are no telltale signs of this insidious disease until it’s too late to reverse it. The only way to know for sure if you have healthy gums is with regular checkups at the dentist.
If it’s been a while since your last routine dental appointment, we invite you to give us a call. We warmly welcome new patients at our dental office in the Chatham and Morristown, NJ area. Whether it’s been six months or six years since your last spin in the dental chair, rest assured you’ll get no judgments from us. We simply want to put you back on track to taking good care of your oral health.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an infection that forms in the mouth, usually from the buildup of plaque on the teeth that isn’t removed. When plaque is left untreated, it hardens into a substance called tartar. This tartar is virtually impossible to remove with a toothbrush and dental floss. Only your dental hygienist’s special dental tools will get rid of it. If left alone, it will eventually start to cause symptoms.
Periodontal disease has two stages:
Gingivitis—This is the early stage of the condition when bacteria in plaque cause your gums to become inflamed. Periodontitis develops only if gingivitis remains untreated.
Periodontitis—This is advanced stage gum disease. Pockets begin to form around the teeth, and your gums will start to pull away from your teeth. If left to progress, other symptoms might also arise, including bone loss, chronic bad breath; pus around the gums, gums that bleed easily, and loose teeth. Eventually, you may lose teeth.
Risk Factors for Gum Disease
Gum disease is an infection caused by the bacteria in plaque. Certain risk factors increase your likelihood of developing gum disease:
- Not brushing and flossing properly
- Chronic illness
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Heart disease
- Hormones, such as during pregnancy
- Certain medications
- Smoking and using tobacco products
The best way to prevent gum disease is by visiting your dentist every six months for checkups and cleanings.
Treating Gum Disease
In its earliest stages, we can often reverse gum disease with a deep cleaning. This nonsurgical treatment is called scaling and root planing. It involves scraping the plaque and tartar off your teeth, then smoothing the area to help prevent bacteria from gathering again. You may need more than one treatment, depending on how far your gum disease has progressed.
For more advanced gum disease, you might need periodontal surgery, such as pocket reduction or gum grafting.
Make sure you are protecting your oral health by keeping your gums healthy. Call our Chatham and Morristown, NJ dental office to make a dental appointment today!