What is Periodontal Disease and How Can You Prevent It?
Red, inflamed gums are very common among adults. In fact, the CDC says that almost half of Americans have this and other forms of gum disease. Unfortunately, this doesn't mean that the condition can be ignored. Without proper treatment, your teeth can literally fall out of your mouth.
What is Gingivitis?
This is the technical name for irritated gums. The first part of the word refers to the gingiva, or gums, and the second part means that an inflammatory process is going on. Symptoms and signs include redness of the gums, especially near the gum line; puffiness of the gums; and sometimes, bleeding upon brushing or flossing.
Periodontitis – the Stage After Gingivitis
As time goes on, the problems that cause gingivitis can get worse and turn into periodontitis. This progression is so well-known that some dentists say that gingivitis is actually the "first stage of periodontitis."
In periodontitis, harmful bacteria have made it past the gum line and have begun causing destruction of the deeper gum tissues. This causes deep pockets to form. Bacteria, food debris, and other irritants collect in these pockets, which are too deep for normal cleaning to reach. The gums are further inflamed, and destruction of the tooth's ligaments and the underlying jaw bone structure begins.
Preventing and Treating Gum Disease
Prevention of periodontal disease starts with good oral hygiene at home. Brush and floss your teeth as recommended by your dentist. Also, be sure to get professional cleanings at least once every six months. Standard professional cleanings will often clear up gingivitis.
If you already have gum disease, professional treatment is needed. The dentist or hygienist will perform a deep cleaning procedure to get rid of the embedded bacteria in the pockets. One such cleaning procedure is called "scaling and root planing," and it is done under local anesthesia. Other procedures also exist.
Contact Our Brentwood Dentist Today
To get the cleanings or treatments you need to restore your oral health and save your teeth, make an appointment with us here at Cool Springs Laser Dentistry. We'll be glad to help you protect the health of your mouth.