Periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, affects nearly half of the American population. And the scary part is, many sufferers are completely unaware they have the disease. A common misconception about gum disease is that if there are no signs or symptoms, then it must be harmless. This is a dangerous idea that could not be further from the truth. Gum disease not only affects the health of your gums and mouth, but can lead to dangerous systemic complications in the rest of the body.
What happens if Gum Disease goes untreated?
If left untreated, gum disease can be devastating. Some long-term effects may include:
- Loss of teeth
- Recession of gums
- Loss of bone
- Contribution to or intensification of systemic issues like diabetes and heart disease
How do I know if I have Gum Disease?
One of the biggest misconceptions about gum health is that everyone’s gums bleed sometimes – this is not the case. Healthy gums should not bleed. If you’ve been ignoring the signs, here are some other common symptoms of gum disease:
- Red or puffy gums
- Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
- Loose teeth
- Bad breath
- Unpleasant taste in the mouth
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease is caused by the growth of bacteria on the teeth and gums. Your gums may swell or bleed easily when they are irritated. Over time, plaque hardens into tarter, which can irritate gums to the point where they begin to pull away from the teeth, allowing for an even easier environment for bacteria to thrive, and gum disease to progress.
The one thing to remember is that gum disease is not only treatable, but it is preventable. Maintaining good oral hygiene at home, and coming to see your Fort Wayne dentist is your best bet for avoiding the situation altogether. At your regular checkup appointments, Dr. Diehl & Dr. Hemphill will perform a periodontal exam, assessing any changes in the appearance and general health of your gums. The earlier we detect it, the better.
OraVital: The Oral Infection Experts™
OraVital Inc. developed the comprehensive OraVital System (patent pending), which provides accurate diagnosis and effective treatment of oral infections that cause periodontal disease, bad breath and weaken the oral-systemic link. Dupont Family Dentistry is proud to offer OraVital prescription antibiotic, antifungal and microbial rinses that research has shown capable of controlling gum disease in 90% of cases in just four weeks.
Scaling & Root Planing
Scaling and root planing is a deep cleaning below the gumline used to treat gum disease. This deep cleaning has two parts. Scaling takes place when Dr. Diehl or Dr. Hemphill remove all the plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) above and below the gumline is removed, taking care to clean all the way down to the bottom of the pocket. Once scaling is completed, root planing begins–smoothing out teeth roots to help gums reattach to your teeth. Scaling and root planing may take more than one visit to complete, and we may recommend use of a local anesthetic.
If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the signs and symptoms of gum disease, please don’t wait for the issue to resolve itself – because it won’t. Call our office at (260) 489-1100 today to schedule a periodontal exam, or request an appointment online.