Periodontal disease affects millions of Americans, carrying with it the potential for both tooth and bone loss if left untreated. Are you concerned about the health of your gums? At Jackson County Dental in Seymour, IN, your dentists, Dr. Matthew Pierce and Dr. Lane Severe, can help optimize your oral and systemic health through precise preventive and restorative care. Learn more about how they can boost your gum health by reading below!
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease has many names: gum disease, gingivitis (mild periodontal disease), and periodontitis (a more advanced type). Inflammatory in nature, periodontal disease feeds on the action of oral bacteria, a kind of microbe that by themselves are normal, but when proliferating in plaque and tartar, can overwhelm the immune system and destroy gum and bone.
Periodontitis is the leading cause of tooth loss among Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Appearing in patients of all ages, this condition can be fended off by:
- Twice daily brushing
- Once a day flossing
- A tooth-friendly diet (low in carbs)
- Attending semi-annual examinations and cleanings at Jackson County Dental
Besides damaging oral health, gum disease is also connected to systemic health problems such as arthritis, dementia, kidney disease, liver disease, coronary artery disease, low birth weight infants, and diabetes. As you can see, a healthy mouth carries benefits for your entire body!
Symptoms of gum disease
Like so many health problems, gum disease begins slowly and insidiously. Some symptoms are barely detectable in the early stages. However, as the problem progresses (from gingivitis to advanced periodontitis), both patient and dentist notice:
- Bleeding gum tissue
- Reddened gums
- Gum tissue pulling away from tooth surfaces
- Persistent bad breath
- Loose and/or drifting teeth
- Changes in bite
- Exposed tooth roots
In addition, your hygienist or dentist measures gum pockets—the spaces between the soft tissue and the tooth roots. If you have pockets deeper than three millimeters, treatment is necessary, particularly if these measurements appear with several teeth.
Treating periodontal disease
The most common in-office treatment is scaling and root planing. The hygienist uses manual and ultrasonic tools to remove hard tartar from beneath the gum line. As directed by Dr. Pierce or Dr. Severe, antibiotic medication may also be used. Over time, the gums heal and re-attach to tooth surfaces.
More serious cases of gum disease respond best to surgical procedures called gum grafting. There are different ways to add gum tissue to areas of recession, but all aim to cover expose roots and strengthen bone and tooth stability.
Of course, following any one of these treatments, periodontal patients need to attend follow-up appointments at our Seymour office.
The professional team at Jackson County Dental encourages you to come in for a cleaning and examination every six months. After all, prevention is the key to healthy gums! To schedule your appointment, please call our Seymour office at (812) 522-8608.