Four out of five adults have periodontal or gum disease and this is the primary cause of loss of teeth after the age of thirty-five (35). Most people however don’t even know they have it, mainly because it’s almost always painless. The early stages of periodontal disease, gingivitis, largely go unnoticed and can only be diagnosed by a dentist. Sometimes there is slight bleeding of the gums when brushing, or someone may tell you that you have bad breath.
Periodontitis is an advanced gum disease that occurs if gingivitis is not treated. This results in the loss of bone around the teeth, with the development of ‘pockets’ where the bone becomes detached from the tooth and areas of plaque and food accumulation occur, which in turn causes further problems.
The good news is that periodontal diseases can be treated and the progression of the disease can be halted. If the disease is caught during its early stages, it is relatively easy to treat. If it is caught in the later stages, with aggressive, persistent treatment, results are still often good. But treatment IS necessary, or tooth loss is inevitable. Treatments include Scaling and Root Planning (smoothing of the root surfaces so that the gum tissue can be reattached to the tooth).
For this reason, one of the first procedures done with every new patient in our office, is a gum evaluation. There is little purpose to diagnose and treat the teeth if the gums are not in proper condition to support them.
People lose more teeth through periodontal diseases than from all the other reasons combined. If someone tells you that you’ve got bad breath or you notice bleeding, no matter how slight when you brush your teeth, don’t ignore it. Come and see us as soon as you can
No matter what stage your gum health is, there is no better time than now to take care of any problems. We would also like to assure you that if you are having gum problems, it is not necessarily because you are neglecting your oral care. For various reasons, some people just have more problems with this than others, and have to put much more effort into the “fight”. For these people, it is important to have regular visits in our office every three months for periodontal maintenance. Working together, we can get on top of the persistent problem, and stay on top.