The Cause of Gum Disease
The bacteria found in dental plaque and tarter are harmful to your gum tissue and surrounding bone. Periodontal (gum) disease is a serious infection that is caused by the accumulation of bacteria and their biproducts on your teeth. If left untreated, you can experience gum recession, increased spaces between your teeth, loose teeth, tooth loss and other serious problems that affect your overall health.
While bacteria are the main source of gum disease, there are several factors that may put some patients at a greater risk. Risk factors include:
• Genetic predisposition.
• Poor homecare (lack of or improper brushing and flossing)
• Smoking and tobacco use.
• Certain medications.
• Hormone fluctuation. (Especially common during pregnancy and menopause)
• Diseases that weaken your immune response.
• Poor nutrition.
• Misaligned teeth.
• Dental appliances.
Gingivitis and Periodontitis
Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease and is sometimes hard to detect. With little or no discomfort and subtle warning signs, many patients may not know they have gingivitis. Gingivitis can cause gums that are red, swollen, and tend to bleed easily. At this stage, we can easily reverse gum disease with professional treatment and proper oral hygiene.
When gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis. Periodontitis is a much more serious form of gum disease that can damage gum tissue, connective ligaments, and the supportive bone around your teeth. As the infection spreads, your gums will separate from the teeth and form deep periodontal pockets. These pockets can cause further infection by trapping bacteria and food debris below the gum line. Eventually, periodontitis
can lead to tooth loss and systemic conditions in the body. Your immune system is not designed to fight infection for long periods of time. Gum disease can wear down or weaken your immune response, increasing your risk of respiratory disease, heart disease, diabetes, and other complications.
Prevention and Treatment of Gum Disease
Regular exams and professional cleanings are also a crucial part of preventing gum disease. During your exam, we will be able to identify and diagnose signs of gingivitis before it develops into periodontitis. During your cleaning, our hygienist will keep bacteria at bay by removing plaque and tartar buildup from the surfaces of the teeth.
Periodontitis is treated with a scaling and root planing procedure, also known as a "deep cleaning" During the procedure, we will remove extensive plaque and tartar from the surfaces of the tooth, especially in the deep periodontal pockets around your teeth to halt the progression of the disease. Another goal is to smooth out the surface of your root. A smooth root will keep bacteria, plaque, and tartar from reestablishing underneath the gums and allow your tissue to properly heal and reattach to the teeth.
Schedule Your Appointment Today
Do not neglect your dental health! Call 219-865-4095 to schedule an exam and reserve your time with one of our professional hygienists today!