Gum Disease (Periodontitis)
Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis which can lead to early tooth loss and other health problems. Research show that millions of people don't know they have this serious infection as they become too use to their symptoms or may not notice them.
Assess your Risk. Do you have any of the following?
- Bad breath that won't go away
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums or longer appearing teeth
Smoking: Need another reason to quit smoking? Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors associated with the development of gum disease. Additionally, smoking can lower the chances for successful treatment.
Hormonal changes: In girls/women. These changes can make gums more sensitive and make it easier for gingivitis to develop.
Diabetes: People with diabetes are at higher risk for developing infections, including gum disease.
Other illnesses. Diseases like cancer or AIDS and their treatments can also negatively affect the health of gums.
Medications: There are hundreds of prescription and over the counter medications that can reduce the flow of saliva, which has a protective effect on the mouth. Without enough saliva, the mouth is vulnerable to infections such as gum disease. And some medications can cause abnormal overgrowth of the gum tissue; this can make it difficult to keep gums clean.
Genetic susceptibility:Some people are more prone to severe gum disease than others.
Can you pass gum disease to others? - Gum disease may be passed from parents to children and between couples. Researchers suggest that bacteria causing periodontal disease are passed though saliva. This means that when a family or couple comes into contact with each other's saliva, they're at risk for contracting the gum disease of another family member. Based on this research, the British Society and America Association of Periodontology recognizes that treatment of gum disease may involve entire families. If one family member has gum disease, the BSP and AAP recommends that all family members see a dental professional for a periodontal disease screening.
What to expect at the first visit at the periodontist -During your first visit, your dentist will review your complete medical and dental history with you. It's extremely important for your dentist to know if you are taking any medications or being treated for any condition that can affect your periodontal care. You will be given a complete oral and periodontal exam. You also have a thorough examination of your gums, check to see if there is any gum line recession, assess how your teeth fit together when you bite and check your teeth to see if any are loose. A small measuring instrument (periodontal probe) and place it between your teeth and gums to determine the depth of those spaces, known as periodontal pockets. This helps your periodontist assess the health of your gums. Radiographs (x-rays) may be used to show the bone levels between your teeth to check for possible bone loss. You may also have dental photographs taken a the start of therapy.
There is a great deal of misinformation about this disease. Hae you heard this before? How can you tell which is correct?
In order to help distinguish between fact and fallacy regarding periodontal disease, the AAP has identified and addressed below some common misconceptions about oral health.
- Bleeding gums are not that big of a deal.
Red, swollen and bleeding gums are an important sign of periodontal disease. If you notice bleeding while brushing or flossing, or when eating certain foods, you should schedule a visit with your dental professional to be evaluated for periodontal disease. Studies have shown that in addition to tooth loss, gum disease may contribute to the progression of other diseases, including heart disease and diabetes, so it is important that you begin treating periodontal disease as soon as possible.
- You don’t need to floss/use interdental cleaners every day.
Routine oral care, which includes brushing after every meal and before bedtime, and flossing at least once a day, is the best way to prevent gum disease. However, a recent survey estimates that only 10% percent of the UK flosses/use interdental cleaners each day. It is vital that you keep up with your daily oral care, and see a dental professional for a thorough check-up twice a year. If gum disease is diagnosed, a consultation with a periodontist/ dentist with advanced skills in periodontology focuses in treating periodontal disease, may be beneficial.
- A visit to the periodontist will be scary.
Periodontists are gum disease experts. They have received three or more years of specialized training following dental school centered on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of periodontal disease. Periodontists are equipped with the latest treatments and technologies, using innovative tools such as digital radiography, ultrasound technology, biomarker measurement to help make your visit more comfortable.
- A tooth lost to gum disease is a tooth lost forever.
Gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. However, in addition to treating gum disease, periodontists are also experts in placing dental implants – a convenient and comfortable way to permanently replace missing teeth. A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into the jaw to hold a replacement tooth. Studies have shown that dental implants have a 98 percent success rate, and with proper care, allow you to speak, eat and smile with confidence. Most patients reported being "pleased" or "extremely satisfied" with the results of their dental implants.
- Poor oral hygiene is the only way to develop gum disease.
Forgoing good oral hygiene can certainly contribute to the progression of gum disease, but there are a variety of other factors that can also impact your risk. For instance, tobacco use has been shown to greatly increase your chance of developing gum disease. Stress, poor diet, and even genetics, can also play a role in the health of your gums. To determine your risk of developing gum disease, give us a call.