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 for 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: A common and mild form of gum disease that presents as 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.
- Periodontitis: 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 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 dentist for a 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
Treatment for Gum Disease
A complete periodontal examination, including the necessary dental X-rays, will help us determine your treatment plan. We treat early stages of the disease by performing scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) below the gum line. More advanced stages may require a surgical approach if the initial scaling and root planing does not resolve the infection. We also offer additional periodontal services.
Schedule a consultation
If you are searching for a periodontist to treat gum disease in Dallas, TX or surrounding areas, contact the office of Dr. D. Bradley Dean today. Schedule a consultation, or request an appointment online today.