What Is Gum Disease
Did you know over half of all American adults have a form of gum disease (periodontitis) by the age of 30? That number jumps to over 70% of adults over age 65 who have advanced gum disease (CDC Study).
Gum disease occurs when you develop an infection in the gum tissue. This presents itself as inflammation, puffiness, redness and bleeding of the tissue around the teeth. If left untreated, the bone begins to deteriorate around the teeth. Periodontal disease is one of the most common reasons why adults lose teeth.
We continue to find links between the health of the mouth and the rest of the body. Gum disease can be associated with heart disease, stroke and diabetes. The good news is with good oral health care, gum disease and periodontitis can reverse and become stable. Who would have thought, improving your overall mouth cleanliness can improve your overall body health!
If you feel you are suffering from gum disease and would like to schedule an appointment or would like to know more, we at Rivers Bend will be glad to provide some answers for you. Please call us or contact us through our website.
Rivers Bend Family Dental provides a wide range of dental procedures to make it convenient for your entire family to tend to their dental needs.
Warning Signs For Gum Disease
Worried that you might have gum disease? Following are a few categories discussing gum disease.
Gingivitis: This is the earliest stage of gum disease. When plaque builds up around and along the gum line, it irritates the gum tissue thus causing inflammation, puffiness and swelling. The tell-tale sign that indicates you have gingivitis is bleeding when you floss or brush your teeth. Healthy gums DO NOT bleed. Usually gingivitis can be resolved with a normal prophylaxis cleaning and continued consistent at home oral hygiene practices. Ignore gingivitis long enough, and it eventually becomes early periodontitis–the next stage.
Early Periodontitis: When plaque builds up to its harder version on teeth,it becomes calculus. This crust of bacteria starts to reach further down the pocket formed between the tooth and gum. When this happens, the constant swelling and inflammation response causes degeneration of the bone surrounding the tooth. At this point, your hygienist will detect the bone loss with the probe depths and let you know you should return for scaling and root planing and regular follow ups. There are other adjunct treatments such as Arestin (antibiotic placed in the gum pocket) to consider, as well.
Advanced Periodontitis: Once the buildup of bacteria, toxins and calculus has advanced, it severely destroys surrounding gum tissue and bone. The pockets become so deep around the teeth you are not able to keep them clean with traditional brushing and flossing. The bacteria continues to collect, causing more pocket and gum recession until eventually the tooth is so wobbly it’s ready to wiggle itself out of the gums. This has now become a severe infection of the gums. If you are at this stage, you are likely considering advanced treatments, such as bone grafting, gingival grafting and pocket reduction therapy.
Gum recession: More of a side effect from gum disease, gum recession is a condition that happens when the gums shrink and recede exposing more of the tooth root. This exposure of root can become very painful and sensitive to hot, cold and pressure. It usually shows as a sharp distinct pain, but does go away whenever the cause is removed (hot, cold or pressure).
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Avoiding Gum Disease
Even though it is very common in adults, gum disease is completely preventable. As with succeeding with anything in life, it takes consistency and routine follow up.
Make sure you are consistently brushing your teeth, at minimum, twice a day, morning and night and flossing at least once a day with proper technique. These are your stable at home treatments to maintain the fight against gum disease.
Utilizing an anti-gingivitis mouthwash is also helpful in reducing bacterial loads.
It is also a good idea to maintain a healthy diet and regular exercise routine. Not only does nutritious food and exercise make your gum and mouth heal better, it makes your overall body health better.
Finally, don’t forget about your regular dental check-ups and cleanings at least twice a year. This is an incredibly effective way to prevent gum disease.
Everyone’s situation and specific insurance plan is unique and different. As with most dental procedures, what will be covered is ultimately determined by your specific policy and plan. The good news is that most dental insurance plans have some coverage for periodontal procedures. If you do not currently have dental insurance coverage or have questions about payment options, always feel free to contact our knowledgeable staff. They are always happy to discuss possible options with you.