Periodontal (gum) disease is the inflammation and infection of the gums and soft tissue surrounding the teeth. Periodontal disease can be prevented with regular dental care. If, however, gum disease develops and is left untreated, the bacterial infection can lead to severe pain, tooth loss and organ damage throughout the body.
Gum disease develops when plaque, left on the teeth, hardens into tartar. Tartar builds up along the gum line, separating the gums from teeth and creating pockets where bacteria thrives, causing an infection.
Some individuals are more likely than others to develop gum disease. Risk factors include:
Healthy gums should be a nice pink color and fit tightly around the teeth. Individuals with gum disease might experience some or all of the following symptoms.
Some individuals experience no symptoms of gum disease. For this reason, regular check ups with a dentist are essential to early diagnosis and the ongoing care of your smile. Periodontal disease is most easily and effectively treated when diagnosed early. With an early diagnosis and proper treatment, tooth loss can be prevented and all signs and symptoms can be reversed.
To effectively treat periodontal disease, teeth must be cleaned, removing plaque, tartar and eliminating pockets where bacteria can grow so that the gums can reattach. The treatment of periodontal disease depends on the severity of the case. Typically, a professional cleaning and scaling of the teeth is always required. In more severe cases, root planing will also be necessary. If following a thorough periodontal cleaning, the gums do not adequately reattach and infection remains, periodontal surgery might be necessary.
As with most health concerns, prevention is always the best medicine. Follow these steps to prevent gum disease:
With regular oral hygiene and visiting Schaffer Dental for a professional cleaning, you can protect your smile from the dangers and discomfort of periodontal disease. Contact our office to schedule an appointment today.