The ligaments, bone, and gums around the teeth form the foundation for your smile. All of these structures are also collectively referred to as the periodontium. When your periodontium is not healthy, it puts the foundation of your teeth at great risk. Periodontal disease can lead to severe oral health problems and can even affect the rest of your body; this is why you should contact Tindal Prosthodontics right away if you notice concerning symptoms in your gums.
Periodontal disease – more commonly called gum disease – begins when the soft tissue supporting your teeth becomes infected. During the earliest stages, only the gums are inflamed. This is known as gingivitis, and it can cause redness and swelling in the gums; you might also notice bleeding whenever you brush, floss, or check on something hard. Eventually, an untreated infection can become periodontitis and start attacking the ligaments and bone under the gums. Over time, the connective tissue holding your teeth in place could weaken and eventually result in tooth loss. Worse yet, research suggests that the bacteria in your gums could enter the bloodstream and put you at higher risk for heart attacks and other potentially severe conditions.
In many cases, gum disease develops silently. That means you might not notice any symptoms until the most advanced stages, at which point extensive damage has already been done. Regular checkups at Tindal Prosthodontics will make it more likely that gum disease will be detected as soon as possible. However, you should make an appointment right away if you notice any of the following symptoms that could indicate an unhealthy periodontium:
Early treatment is the key to periodontal therapy. With proper therapy, it is possible to return the gum tissue to a healthy state. Gum treatment usually involves a deep cleaning or root planing done under a local anesthetic along with local antibiotic agents. First, all the plaque and tartar below and above the gumline is removed; any pockets formed as a result of gum disease are thoroughly cleaned. After that, the roots of the teeth are smoothed out. This makes it easier for the gums to reattach themselves while also reducing the risk of another infection.
When you brush your teeth, don’t forget to clean on and near the gumline. You should also scrub your tongue to get rid of any bacteria that could be transferred to your teeth and gums.
If you don’t already floss, you should start doing so daily; this is the best way to remove plaque and food in the spaces where your toothbrush can’t reach.
Finally, don’t forget to schedule at least two dental cleanings every year so that any plaque or tartar you missed while brushing and flossing on your own can be removed by a professional.
If you’ve been diagnosed with gum disease in Sarasota, you likely have several concerns about the road ahead. There isn’t any reason to worry. We’ll explain everything during your consultation, so you know exactly what to expect. To help ease any apprehensions until your visit, we have the answers to a few of the most common questions patients ask us about gum disease.
Gum disease is categorized into 3 stages based on the severity of the infection, which include:
Research shows gum disease can significantly increase the risk of serious health issues, like heart disease, respiratory problems, Alzheimer’s disease, and some cancers. When gum disease isn’t treated, the bacteria responsible for it can enter the bloodstream. As it circulates throughout the body, it causes an inflammatory response, which can lead to blocked arteries, diabetic complications, and several other concerns.
Gum disease results from poor oral hygiene habits, like not flossing daily. When plaque isn’t regularly removed from the gum line or between the teeth, it will harden and turn to tartar. The buildup harbors harmful bacteria that will irritate and infect the gum tissue. Although many people believe brushing is enough to keep the infection at bay, your toothbrush can’t clean everywhere in your mouth. In fact, you can leave as much as 40% of your tooth’s surface exposed to plaque and bacteria if you only use your toothbrush. Daily flossing removes the accumulation to significantly reduce your risk of gum disease.
Flossing is crucial to keeping your gums healthy, but you don’t want to use just any floss. It’s best to choose one that has earned the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance, which means it has undergone voluntary testing for safety and effectiveness. You can choose from many thicknesses and flavors, as well as waved or unwaxed. Many people prefer waxed because the floss tends to slide easier between the teeth better. As an alternative, you can use a waterflosser, which emits a gentle pressurized water stream to clean areas your toothbrush may have missed.