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If you have been diagnosed with gum disease, you may be confused, and you may wonder how it happened. Gum disease is an invisible disease and it affects MANY patients. In fact, most patients do not even know that they have gum disease until their dentist tells them. Once periodontal disease does set in, it will only be a matter of time before you start to notice the side effects and many times, the damage done is irreparable.
Gum disease is also referred to as periodontal disease and this is the leasing cause of adult tooth loss. One of the things you must understand about gum disease is that it does not all set in at once. In fact, it takes time and there are several different stages of the disease. Each stage of this disease works its way into the bones and ligaments within the mouth and it breaks down the support of each tooth.
Typically, the first stages of gum disease are detected when you visit the dentist at your checkup, however, any case that is left untreated with have very visible signs. Dr. Sohn wants you to know that more than HALF of all adults have some type of gum disease and more than three-quarters of adults over 35 have periodontal disease at this very moment.
Below, Dr. Sohn will discuss some of the signs of gum disease so you know what to look out for, how it is treated, and what to know about receding gums. If you would like to have a consultation or if you would like to discuss gum disease with our team, call our Denver, CO office now.
What is the Cause of Periodontal Disease?
One of the major causes of periodontal disease outside of poor oral care is the buildup of bacteria and plaque on your teeth. The bacteria create toxins that irritate the gums and cause them to become inflamed. It is this specific process that destroys the tissues around the teeth and causes the gums to separate from the teeth. If you do not seek out treatment at the first signs, the disease will continue to progress and will eventually reach the bone.
When plaque is not removed from your teeth, it forms a harder substance known as tartar and this can only be removed by the dentist or dental hygienist. If tartar forms below your gum line, it can cause further issues.
While the major cause of periodontal disease is tartar, there are additional factors that contribute to it to include:
- Defective fillings
- Food that is impacted between the teeth
- Poor oral hygiene
- Clenching or grinding your teeth
- Diseases such as diabetes or AIDS
- Pregnancy and oral contraceptives
- Poorly fitting bridges
- Poor nutrition and diet
- Certain medications
- Chewing tobacco or smoking tobacco products
- Badly aligned teeth
Periodontal Disease: What Are the Symptoms?
While the beginning stages of gum disease may have silent symptoms, the symptoms will continue to progress and get worse. Some of the most common symptoms that are experienced include:
- Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
- Tooth loss
- Tender, swollen, or red gums
- Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite or changes in the way dentures fit
- Teeth that are loose or those that have shifted in place
- Pus in between the teeth and gums
How is Gum Disease Treated?
Dr. Sohn would like to see you here at CS Family Dental in Denver, CO if you think that you may have gum disease. It can be treated but the longer you wait to receive treatment can lead to worsening of the symptoms and severity. Gum disease is treated using a process called a deep cleaning or root planing and scaling. This is a process where the gums are separated from the teeth to allow for the removal of tartar. This procedure is extensive and will take several office visits to complete.
If deep pockets have formed and periodontal disease is evident, medication may be required to help heal the infection.
What About My Gums? They Are Receding!
Gums that start to recede throw up a red flag and you may be worried and confused as to why it is happening. Many people do consider it a sign of aging, but, there could also be a deeper reason as to why your gums are receding. Aging and aggressive toothbrushing CAN lead to recession of the gums, but, so can periodontal disease. Since three in four adults have gum disease, it is no surprise that gum recession isn’t noticed until the later stages.
Your gums will be swollen and red in the first stages of gum disease and at this point, the disease can be reversed without too much damage, but, you need to visit our office immediately to discuss your options. As the disease can continue unrestricted and untreated, it will cause damage and irreparable harm to your gums, teeth, and bone. It is common for teeth to become loose and fall out at this stage. Periodontitis is the main cause of tooth loss in adults 40 and over.
It does sound scary and while it can be, the team at CS Family Dental is here to help you. We can counsel you and provide you with the information needed to ensure good oral hygiene. Receding gums can be prevented in a couple of ways to include using a soft toothbrush and brushing in a small circular motion as opposed to back and forth across the teeth. You want to AVOID any excessive pressure on the teeth or long horizontal brush strokes.
If you have noticed that your gums are starting to recede, or they have already done so, you may need to have a graft performed to cover the exposed root. An exposed root can lead to sensitivity and further recession over time. In severe cases, it can lead to tooth loss.
If you would like to discuss your options with us or schedule a consultation, contact our Denver office today!