Healthy gums are an essential component of a healthy smile. Just as your teeth need routine care to prevent decay, your gums need regular care to prevent gum disease. Dr. Dean is a periodontist, specializing in the prevention, treatment, and management of gum disease and other periodontal concerns. We can coordinate treatment with your general dentist or offer complete oral care in our offices in Plano, Texas.
What is Gum Disease?
According to the American Dental Association, about half of Americans are affected by gum disease to varying degrees. Gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults and has been linked to a number of other major health risks including stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.
Gum disease falls into two categories:
Gingivitis is a common and the first stage of gum disease. Symptoms include irritated, red, bleeding, and/or swollen gums. Gingivitis is typically easy to treat but may require additional at-home care to prevent it from returning. Patients with recurring gingivitis may benefit from more frequent dental cleanings.
An advanced gum disease. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, an aggressive form of gum disease that can eventually lead to tooth loss. Periodontitis can cause permanent damage to the gum tissue and weaken the teeth. This often requires intensive treatment to address damage and restore oral health.
What Causes Gum Disease?
While poor oral hygiene is a primary cause of gum disease, there are a number of other contributing factors including:
- Age and genetic predisposition
- Pregnancy and hormonal changes in women
- Smoking or tobacco use
- Certain medications
- Grinding or clenching of teeth
- Poor nutrition, obesity, or disease such as diabetes
Harmful bacteria in the mouth feed off of tartar and plaque buildup and multiply, spreading throughout the mouth. The bacteria will eventually grow in pockets deep inside the gum line. As the bacteria spread, the gum line can separate from the teeth and begin to recede, leaving tooth roots exposed and the teeth can become susceptible to extreme sensitivity and even loss.
Studies show that the key to avoiding gum disease is through a daily routine of brushing and flossing. Since a person may have gum disease and show no signs or symptoms, it’s important to visit the dentist for professional teeth cleaning and examination at least every six months. There are a number of warning signs that could indicate periodontal disease including:
- Sore gums
- Red and/or bleeding gums
- Receding gums
- Loose or separating teeth
- Chronic bad breath
- Sores on or near gums
- Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- Loose-fitting dentures
Gum Disease FAQs
How quickly does gum disease progress?
The symptoms of gingivitis start to show after two to three weeks. If you continue to ignore them, it will develop into a mild case of periodontal disease. Your gums will then begin to recede, or pull away from your teeth.
Can gum disease lead to other problems?
The bacteria that cause periodontitis can enter your bloodstream and possibly impact other parts of your body. For instance, there is a connection between periodontitis and conditions like respiratory illness, rheumatoid arthritis, coronary artery disease, and issues managing blood sugar in those with diabetes.
Is gum disease genetic?
According to recent research, heredity may play a role in periodontal disease, therefore your genetic make-up may actually increase your risk of developing periodontitis. Patients with aggressive periodontitis lose bone around a few or multiple teeth.
Does periodontitis hurt?
In most cases, chronic periodontal disorders like gingivitis and periodontitis don’t cause any pain at all. However, inflammation or a low-grade infection can occasionally cause mild, episodic, or persistent dull pain. Sharp periodontal pain, on the other hand, is frequently linked to severe infection and inflammation.
What does gum disease look like?
Gum disease may appear in a variety of ways. Gums may appear swollen, red, or inflamed. They also may bleed upon contact, such as when brushing.
Can gums grow back?
While gum tissue won’t regenerate on its own, it can be surgically replaced to improve both aesthetics and oral health. Gum grafting takes healthy tissue from another area of the mouth and transplants it into the gums.
Schedule A Periodontal Exam and Treatment for Gum Disease Today
Are you looking for a periodontist in Plano that can fix your gum disease issues, call Dr. Bradley Dean at (972) 666-1594 to schedule a consultation, or request an appointment online today.