If you’ve recently been taken aback by a gum disease diagnosis, you really shouldn’t be too surprised. According to the CDC, those with periodontal disease have plenty of company with 47.2% of adults 30 and over and 70.1% of adults over age 65 who suffer from gum disease.
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is a bacterial infection of the gums and other tissues that surround the teeth. It has two stages. During the first stage, called gingivitis, bacteria build up along the gum line, causing the gums to become inflamed and irritated, but no permanent damage will have occurred yet. Left unaddressed, gingivitis leads to the second stage, periodontitis (advanced gum disease).
Periodontitis is marked by a significant infection that causes the gums to pull away from the teeth and also leads to the deterioration of soft tissues and bone structures around the teeth. Beyond causing oral health problems, when left unaddressed, gum disease can lead to blood infections that harm organs throughout the body.
During its initial stages, gum disease can be difficult for the untrained eye to detect. A dentist or dental hygienist can diagnose gum disease by measuring the depth of the pockets between the gums and teeth. The following seven symptoms also indicate the presence of periodontal disease:
Regular brushing, flossing, and dental appointments can keep gum disease at bay. For many, however, regular maintenance simply isn’t enough. For example, individuals with a genetic predisposition, systemic diseases, or a history of tobacco use are at a higher risk.
At Schaffer Dental Excellence, our San Diego dentist performs a thorough examination, looking for signs of periodontal disease, during every checkup. Following a gum disease diagnosis, Dr. Schaffer will work with each patient to devise an appropriate treatment plan based on their medical history and current condition. To learn more about periodontal disease treatment or to schedule an appointment, we welcome you to contact our office today.