Gum disease, or periodontitis, is a fairly common oral health condition. According to the CDC, about 47.2% of people over the age of 30 have periodontitis. 70.1% of people over the age of 65 have periodontitis. Gum disease can be prevented with proper oral hygiene, such as brushing, flossing, and receiving routine dental cleanings at our office. Once you have periodontitis, though, you will need specialized cleaning at Joshua M. Ignatowicz DMD & Associates to prevent any further health complications as a result of the disease.
In general, your gums should be a pale pink color and have a firm fit to your teeth. Red and swollen gums indicate infection or disease, such as periodontitis. Other symptoms of gum disease include pain and tenderness, bleeding, pus, bad breath, receding gumline, spaces between your teeth, loose teeth, or a change in your tooth alignment. It is critical that you contact us immediately if you notice any of these symptoms. Gum disease is a painful condition on its own, but the infection can also spread throughout your body causing numerous other health concerns.
Plaque build-up is the number one cause of gum disease among our patients. This is a sticky film that forms over your teeth when you do not clean them properly. This film contains bacteria that wears down the tissues of your gums and teeth. Plaque first hardens into tartar under your gums, which causes inflammation. This may develop into gingivitis. Inflammation from gingivitis leaves your gums at risk of being filled with more plaque, tartar, and bacteria which eventually leads to periodontitis.
There are some other risk factors for developing periodontitis. Some of these include using tobacco or recreational drugs, hormonal changes, obesity, poor diet, vitamin C deficiency, genetics, medications that dry out your mouth, and other diseases that compromise your immune system.
When you have periodontitis, you will need to come into our office more often than you would for basic routine cleanings. There are three main components of gum disease treatment; scaling, root planing, and antibiotics.
Scaling is done by using a dental scaler, a device that has a pointed tip, to scrape plaque and tartar away from your teeth and under the gumline. Depending on the severity of your condition, our dentist may need to use a laser or a similar device instead of the scaler. Root planing is done after scaling and this is when our dentist smooths the root surface to remove any bacteria and help your gum reattach to your tooth. Antibiotics come in several different forms and may be prescribed as a way to combat the bacteria involved in periodontitis.
If the gum disease is very severe, surgical procedures may be needed. These are used to reduce open spaces under the gums and promote tissue regrowth. Some of these procedures include flap surgery (also called pocket reduction surgery), soft tissue grafts, bone grafts, guided tissue regeneration, and the use of tissue-stimulating proteins.
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Ideally, you should brush your teeth every time after you eat. However, at minimum, you will need to brush twice daily and floss once daily. Follow any self-care instructions given by our dentist. To get more information about gum disease, call Joshua M. Ignatowicz DMD & Associates at 725-257-2220 today.