Gum disease is more common than you think; in fact, the CDC estimates that one in every two US adults over the age of 30 have some form of periodontal disease! However, this condition can cause serious problems if left untreated, including heart disease and diabetes in serious cases. That said, if you’re concerned about gum disease, you should know it can be reversed if it’s caught early enough—but waiting too long to address it could result in permanent damage. Keep reading to learn more from your dentist about the different stages of periodontal disease and what you need to do to keep your smile healthy.
Early Stages of Gum Disease: Gingivitis and Mild Periodontitis
Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease and is often characterized by redness, swelling, and bleeding of the gums. These symptoms are usually painless though, which is why so many patients often have no knowledge of the presence of gum disease! Luckily, gingivitis is still treatable and reversible, as the disease has not yet spread to the jawbone.
However, once it reaches the jawbone and becomes periodontitis, it’s no longer reversible and must now be managed to the best of you and your dentist’s ability. Signs include increased swelling and redness, bad breath, bleeding, and shifting or loose teeth. If this is allowed to develop, it can begin the process of destroying your jawbone, meaning that visiting your dentist promptly is crucial.
Moderate and Advanced Periodontal Disease
If periodontal disease is allowed to progress, your jawbone isn’t the only part of you at risk; your immune system and blood stream can also be targeted by bacteria from your gums. Treatment options include scaling and root planning, which is a technique used to deep clean the gums and remove deposits of bacteria.
But once it becomes what’s called advanced periodontitis, patients experience intense and painful symptoms and have a very high chance of permanent bone loss. Since periodontitis destroys the connective, supportive tissue that holds your teeth in place, it’s actually one of the leading causes of tooth loss in the US! Urgent treatment is necessary including options like surgery or laser therapy; of course, it will depend on your individual circumstances.
Tips for Preventing Gum Disease
Since advanced gum disease cannot be fully cured, it becomes a matter of simply preventing it! Fortunately, there are many preventive measures you can take to do this including:
- Brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash daily.
- Reducing the amount of sugar that you consume, and opting for a healthy diet with sufficient vitamin C.
- Visiting your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings.
Don’t hesitate to visit your dentist if you’re concerned about the health of your gums; inaction can quickly lead to additional, irreversible problems! But knowing what signs to look for and what measures you can take to prevent gum disease is the best way to ensure that your smile remains happy and healthy.
About the Practice
Advanced Dental Care of Allen proudly serves patients and families in the area under the leadership of Dr. Keyvan Kar! Dr. Kar completed his DDS at the University of Cologne School of Dentistry in Germany and received his Certificate of Advanced Education in Prosthodontics from the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry at the University of Southern California. His practice is pleased to offer a wide range of available services, including periodontal therapy! To schedule a visit, feel free to contact the practice’s website or give them a call at (214) 260-9911.