Treating Gum Diseases in Southgate, Michigan
What Is Gum Disease?
Gingivitis and Periodontitis are considered to be a single disease complex often called gum disease. Gingivitis sometimes goes unnoticed in the early stages and may cause no symptoms until it is fairly advanced. It may then spread to the bony tissues, which lie under the gums and support the teeth. This is called Periodontitis, which is a much more serious condition than Gingivitis.
In later stages of Periodontitis, the teeth can become loose and severely infected with pus oozing from around the sockets. In very advanced Periodontitis, the teeth can actually fall out or may have to be removed because of infection. Gum disease is the major cause of premature tooth loss.
Gum disease is caused by bacteria, which are incorporated into a substance called dental plaque. Plaque begins as a soft and sticky substance, which is constantly forming on all areas of the teeth. This harmful material can be present in every area of the mouth. It is especially harmful in areas where it is hard to see and difficult to remove, such as between the teeth and in crevices between the gum and tooth surface.
The longer plaque is allowed to go untreated, the more difficult it is to remove. The bacteria in plaque or tartar produce irritating substances that cause Gingivitis and Periodontitis. At some point, the plaque hardens and has to be scraped off the teeth. In the early stages, it can be brushed and flossed off the teeth but once it has set and formed tartar or calculus, a dentist or dental hygienist must remove it.
A dentist or hygienist will make the diagnosis of Gingivitis or Periodontitis by examination, gum probing and dental X-rays.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of The Disease?
- Blood on the toothbrush when brushing teeth
- Swelling of the gums
- Redness of the gums
- Tenderness when the gums are touched
- Tenderness when chewing
- Pus around the teeth
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Change in the bite
- Visible deposits of tartar or calculus on the teeth
What Are The Risks And Long-Term Effects Of The Disease?
If untreated, Gingivitis and Periodontitis can lead to the loss of teeth. They are the biggest single factor in tooth loss for adults. The infection that accompanies advanced periodontal disease may spread to other parts of the body, including the heart and other organs. This can happen without warning and can be avoided by simple prevention or early treatment.
What Are The Preventative Measures That Can Be Taken?
- Brush with a soft toothbrush at least twice a day.
- Change toothbrushes whenever the bristles begin to wear out.
- Use fluoride toothpaste.
- Use floss at least once a day to clean between teeth.
- Use special tips or devices to clean between the teeth or around bridges as suggested by a dentist or hygienist.
- Keep removable denture appliances just as clean as the teeth.
- Clean around orthodontic appliances or retainers.
- Stay on a common-sense diet to keep oral tissues healthy.
- Have teeth cleaned and examined every six months, unless instructed otherwise by a healthcare professional.
With preventative care, there is no reason that the teeth should not last a lifetime. This disease process is almost always preventable or controllable if simple oral hygiene and regular dental checkups are followed
What Are Treatments For The Disease?
A dental healthcare professional is responsible for recommending appropriate treatment, which may vary considerably from person to person. Full patient cooperation is essential and will be stressed by the dentist or hygienist. Treatment without good oral hygiene practices at home will not be successful. Depending on the stage of the disease, treatment can be as simple as cleaning, called prophylaxis, or as complex as periodontal surgery. In advanced cases, extraction of some or all teeth may be necessary.