Gum disease is caused by a bacterial buildup, called plaque, around the teeth and gums. If you are like most patients, you are unaware that you have gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, as the signs and symptoms are not painful and are easily ignored. One of the most easily recognizable symptoms of gum disease is bleeding gums when you eat, brush, or floss your teeth. Recent studies have shown a direct link between the existence of gum disease and an increased chance of heart disease, stroke, pancreatic cancer, and dementia.
Do you have questions about periodontal disease? Or would you like to schedule an appointment? Please call 425-643-5778 or contact us online.
Common problems associated with gum disease
- Bleeding gums: In the earliest stages, this is often the only recognizable sign. You are most likely to notice bleeding when brushing and flossing, but it can also occur when you eat hard foods.
- Gum redness: Normal, healthy gums are usually pink or coral in color. If yours are red, it could be a sign of the inflammation associated with gum disease.
- “Long” teeth: As periodontal disease progresses, it is common for the gums to recede, making your teeth appear longer. Eventually, the root portion of your teeth could become exposed.
- Discolored or deteriorating tooth structures: Worsening gum disease allows the bacteria to invade and destroy the structures of the teeth. Discoloration and deterioration are common symptoms of advancing periodontal disease.
- Bone loss between the teeth: Severe gum disease affects not only the gums and teeth, but the bones. Bone loss is often the most obvious in between the teeth.
- Loose teeth and eventual tooth loss: Over time, untreated gum disease causes the gums to separate from the teeth. This causes the teeth to become loose and begin to shift. Sometimes the first sign is a change in your bite, or the way your teeth come together as you chew. Those who wear partial dentures often notice a change in the way it fits in the mouth. If you notice any of these symptoms, call our office immediately! Loose teeth can eventually fall out.
Progression of gum disease
Gum disease begins as gingivitis, or inflammation of the gums. At this stage, the symptoms are relatively mild. You might notice minor bleeding or redness, or even nothing at all. As the disease progresses, it becomes periodontitis, in which the bacteria invade below the gum line and begin to attack the bones and tissues that support your teeth. Some people experience very slow progression, while the disease progresses more rapidly in others. Regardless of how quick your progression is, however, it is never a good idea to put off treatment.
Treating periodontal disease
Family Dental Care of Bellevue’s hygiene staff takes periodontal disease very seriously, and will design a program specifically tailored to your individual needs. Depending on the nature and severity of your gum disease, treatment protocols usually include cleaning with an ultrasonic cleaner and, in many cases, the use of a dental laser.
Prior to the advent of dental lasers, dentistry was limited in effective solutions for gum disease. Now, the laser has become a real game changer. Dental lasers painlessly kill the bacteria that is causing your gum disease. The ability to kill this bacteria for an extended period of time is huge for you, the patient, because it allows your body the chance to heal, and even beat this chronic condition for good!
Minimizing the risks for gum disease
Proper oral hygiene, daily dental care, which includes brushing and flossing, as well as regular dental checkups, will minimize the risk of gum disease. However, due to genetics or other causes, many people just have bad luck. In fact, an estimated 80% of people have some form of periodontal disease!
Unfortunately, periodontal-related problems are often discovered only after they have persisted for an extended period of time. However, it is never too late to start treatment. Although it may be more complex in the later stages, treatments are available for every case of gum disease.
Family Dental Care of Bellevue provides the latest in quality general and cosmetic dental care to patients and their families. We are committed to providing conscientious, caring treatment for every patient, regardless of the issues you face. If you are concerned about gum disease, self-conscious about your smile, or eager to improve your oral health, please call our office today at 425-643-5778 to see how we can help.