Gum disease is the most common dental problem—and one of the most serious. Left unchecked, gum disease can cause you to lose teeth, and increases the risk factors for a number of other illnesses, including:
Gum disease is best treated when caught early, but that can be difficult since it’s usually painless until there’s a problem. The best way to identify gum disease in its early stages? Regular dental checkups.
Gum disease is an infection of the gums, periodontal ligaments, and jawbone. It happens when a build-up of calculus (tartar) breaks the healthy attachment between the teeth and gums. Pockets form, bacteria collects in the pockets, and infection can take hold. The infection can destroy gum tissue and even bone.
In the very first stages of gum disease, you may notice a little inflammation and bleeding of the gums, and maybe a foul taste in your mouth. This stage is called gingivitis. It’s typically painless, but it’s the first step toward a serious infection, and it’s the only stage of gum disease that is reversible.
Once gingivitis has progressed to periodontal disease, toxins have begun to cause irreversible damage to the tissue and bone surrounding your teeth. At this stage, symptoms can be treated, but the disease has now progressed to a chronic condition. If it continues to get worse, it’s likely you will lose your teeth unless you pursue aggressive treatment.
Here’s the good news: Most people* can prevent gum disease simply by maintaining good oral hygiene: by brushing and flossing every day, and by having regular oral exams and cleaning. Our dentists will check you for any early signs of gum disease, and our hygienists will clean your teeth, removing any stubborn calculus.
If you are in the first stages of gum disease, your dentist may recommend a deep cleaning. This process removes the calculus and toxins from under the gum line, creating a clean environment and an opportunity for your gums to reattach.
If your periodontal disease is very advanced, your dentist may suggest more aggressive treatment. At Jefferson Dental, our skilled specialists can treat your gum disease with surgery, tissue grafts, and even tissue regeneration.
*Factors that increase the risk of gum disease include heredity, diabetes, smoking, alcohol use, heart disease, osteoporosis, respiratory illnesses, compromised immune systems, and the use of certain medications.
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, men are not only more likely to have gum disease (56.4 % of men vs. 38.4 % of women), but can suffer serious health effects. Gum disease in men increases the risk of: